Poppy Seed Cake
Rum Butter Filling
FOR THE POPPY SEED CAKE: Pour boiling water over seeds, let stand for 5 minutes, pour off water and repeat. Drain well. Grind with steel blade in processor until seeds release milk and turn white. Butter a 9 inch springform pan and dust it with ground almonds. (This may be done in advance.)
The queen of Christmas desserts combines the oldest ingredients found in Ukrainian cooking; honey, poppy seeds, and nuts. The rum butter cream and white icing (see following recipes) marry very well with the heavier poppy seed sponge. Decorating tortes is a specialty in itself. Some cooks lay out elaborate folkloric designs and motifs from Ukrainian embroidery or tapestry patterns, using jellied candies or even multicolored hard candy. The white icing serves as a fine background. The only limit to one's imagination is that decorations should be edible.
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