From time immemorial, poppies have always been the ignored in favor of anemones. Actually, the two flowers are very similar, and only the kind of kid that runs around a field of flowers with a botanic guidebook can really tell the difference. The anemone, however has been declared an endangered flower, and the poppy has been declared an insignificant weed – even before discussing the narcotics it can produce, let alone the contributions it can make to recipes.
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In any recipe, it’s best to use fresh, ground poppy seed, rather than trusting what you can find on the supermarket shelves, that’s been there for who knows how long. You can find fresh ground poppy seeds at organic markets or stores specializing in spices.
You should keep the fresh poppy in the refrigerator until you use it, and if you plan to keep it for over a week, put in in the freezer, as it can survive in there for months.
Poppy seed pear pie
Ingredients for the dough:
2300 grams flour – about 2 cups
100 grams sugar – ½ cup
200 grams cold butter, cut into cubes
For the poppy seed filling:
250 grams fresh ground poppy seeds
1 cup milk
¾ cup sugar
1 cup ground almonds – 100 grams
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4-5 pears, peeled, cut into thin slices
2 cups sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
Also: Pear, apple, or plum jam for brushing
1. The dough: mix the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl, until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add the egg, and stir until it becomes dough. Spread flour on a flat surface, and transfer the dough. Roll the dough until it is about ½ centimeter thick. Use the dough to line a pie pan about 26 centimeters in diameter, or use 12 single serving pie pans. Make sure dough tightly covers the base and sides of the pie pan. Put it in the fridge until its ready to be filled.
2. Poppy seed filling: put milk, sugar, vanilla, and butter into a pot. Mix over a low flame. Bring it to a boil, add the poppy seed, lower the flame, and continue to stir. Remove it from the flame, add the almonds, and stir.
3. Heat the oven to 180 degrees, and put the filling in the pie crust. Place the pear slices over the mixture.
4. Lightly spread sugar and cinnamon over the pie, and bake for about 35 minutes. Let it cool.
5. In the microwave, or a small pot, mix 2 tablespoons of the fruit jam of your choice with a teaspoon of water, and brush it over the pear slices.