Makovnjača – Poppy Seed Roll

A number of Serbian pies are made with filo, called “kore” in Serbian language. A common Serbian pie not made with phyllo is called “štrudla”. To add to the confusion, it is not similar to strudel, but rather to the nut roll. Most commonly you would see two dominant varieties, sometimes made in pairs: Makovnjača (with poppy seeds) and Štrudla s orasima (with walnuts).


Makovnjača - Poppy Seed Roll

A Serbian pie could, in general, be named in two ways: according to its mode of preparation, or according to its filling (although not every pie is prepared with every filling). For example, a Bundevara is a pie filled with pumpkin and could refer to either a savijača (made of rolled filo) or a štrudla (made of rolled dough). Both sweet and salty pies are made, and some pies could be prepared in the same way with either sweet or salty filling.
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Author: The Cook


For the strudel dough

  • 250 g butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast , 7 g
  • 600 g plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

For the filling

  • 4 egg whites plus a pinch of salt
  • 500 g ground poppy seeds , split into two portions of 300 g and 200 g
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • several tablespoons of your favourite marmalade
  • 200 g sugar


  • First, make the dough: heat milk until warm, add dry yeast with a pinch of sugar and leave to dissolve, for 5 minutes. Beat butter with egg yolks and sour cream. Add yeast mixture, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt and sifted flour. Knead until soft dough forms. Cover in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Make the filling: beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beat until shiny. In the end, add finely ground 200 g poppy seeds and cinnamon.
  • Take your dough, divide in 4 equal pieces and roll each one out on well-floured surface, into a rectangle. Brush each rectangle generously with marmalade and sprinkle with ground poppy seeds. Roll longer rectangle sides towards the middle, but leave a tiny space in between. Put poppy seed-egg white mixture into that tiny space. Place all 4 rolled up strudels onto a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C and bake until nicely golden. When cooled, sprinkle with some icing sugar and cut into pieces.
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