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Honey Poppy Seed Ice Cream

June 25, 2011

Honey Poppy Seed Ice Cream

Many of Pauline’s recipes call for poppy seeds, a commonly used ingredient in dishes found in Central and Eastern Europe.  Even animals were served a tasty poppy treat at one time: at the end of harvest season in Pivnica, pigs were fed the leftover stalks and pods from the poppy seed crops and my relatives would enjoy watching them stumble around high on the opium.

My favorite was Bobalki, a special treat Pauline made at Christmas time, tiny baked dough balls that she served drizzled in honey and poppy seeds.

I had a craving for the tiny savory hard fruit, and on this hot summer day decided to invent honey poppy seed ice cream (Med Makom Zmrzlinu in Slovak) when I couldn’t find a recipe. Pauline had written down her recipe for vanilla, and I improvised by adding loads of poppy seeds and  honey.  I bought the seeds in bulk at the Bulk Barn in Leamington, where they were $5  for one lusciously dark pound instead of $5 for a tiny anemic jar of dried out seeds you typically find in the grocery stores around here.

Mixing poppy seeds with cream and milk

The seeds need to be ground in order impart their sharp flavor. A recent Washington Post recipe for Poppy Seed Ice Cream called for grinding the poppy seeds twice over in a coffee grinder; maybe because I used four times as many this burned out my grinder.  I only ground them once, but still the seeds released their oil and resulted in a creamy, coffee colored thickness.

Where Pauline would have hand cranked, I used an ice cream maker. The result is a rich, dark ice cream that’s bursting with poppy seeds that stick sinisterly in the crevices of your teeth.  The ice cream is not too sweet, and would be a nice compliment to berries and a wedge of pound cake.


  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups ground poppy seeds


  1. Grind the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder
  2. Mix the egg yolks and honey in the food processor for about 5 minutes until thick and white
  3. While the yolks are being mixed, place the cream, milk and poppy seeds into a pot and cook just until about to boil. The cream will be thick.
  4. Slowly add the hot cream to the food processor as it is mixing the yolks
  5. Cool in the fridge
  6. Place the cooled cream and yolk mixture into an ice cream maker for about 45 minutes until thickened
  7. Freeze at least two hours or over night
7 Comments leave one →
  1. Lidija permalink
    June 25, 2011 9:38 am

    Hahaha, tell me about poppy seed sticking to teeth! 🙂 Honey and poppy seed is indeed a great combination. Have you ever tried pasta with poppy seed? Pasta is usually mixed with ground poppy seed and sugar, resulting in tasty, yet a bit dry meal. Well, this is how my dad improved the recipe: boil some water, honey and sugar and pour over pasta. Yummy and juicy. 🙂

  2. Lidija permalink
    June 25, 2011 10:15 am

    Slovaks would normally eat this as a main meal. Men in my family (this includes my English husband) prefer some savoury pasta first, followed by some sweet pasta. So my Mum usually makes some potato and onion rezance, or some with fried cabbage, and also some with poppy seeds or walnut. So it becomes a pick’n’mix meal-best combination, actually.

    • June 25, 2011 11:36 am

      Yum, I must try this too. I love the idea of fried cabbage and pasta. I remember Pauline mixing poppy seed and cabbage for some dish.

  3. Louis Leporis permalink
    June 25, 2011 1:21 pm

    You always make me so hungry! 🙂 “my relatives would enjoy watching them (pigs) stumble around high on the opium.” – had to have SOME fun back in the day 🙂

  4. June 25, 2011 5:19 pm

    Yes, they found fun where they could. My relatives also enjoyed feeding the neighbors’ annoying barking dogs paprika.

  5. August 30, 2012 9:21 am

    It’s always good to discover a new blog this great! I will be coming back here for sure

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