Poppyseed Babka

January 22, 2015

This is a recipe that has been floating around in my head for quite a while. Often when I have an inspiration for a recipe I feel compelled to make it immediately. But this babka is something I have been dreaming about for more than a year. For one reason or another I never quite got around to making it. And that, my friends, is a real shame. I should never have waited so long. This babka is everything I hoped it would be. Tender, flaky, and filled to bursting with poppyseed almond filling, it is the babka of my dreams. I first fell in love with poppyseed filling in hamentashen, but it seemed like a shame to only enjoy that wonderful treat once a year. With this babka I can enjoy that wonderful flavor all year round. In fact, I had to admit it, but I like this even better than my beloved poppyseed hamentashen. Even my mom, who does not like poppyseed hamentashen at all, thought this was pretty tasty. (Although she liked the chocolate hazelnut one even better, so if that sounds like it might be up your alley sign up for email updates so you don’t miss it.)

I served this babka as a dessert one Friday night, but I have to admit that the leftovers made for a perfectly decadent breakfast the next morning as well. The recipe makes quite a lot of babka, but I have never seen it go to waste. It freezes wonderfully, as well.

I don’t often repeat desserts, because I am always creating something new, but this one will be repeated for sure. And my answer to the age old “chocolate vs. cinnamon” babka debate is emphatically neither. This babka has won my heart.

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Ingredients & Quantities

For the Dough

  • ½ cup (4 oz) warm water
  • .5 oz instant yeast*
  • ½ cup (3.75 oz) sugar
  • 5 cups (22.5 oz) all purpose flour
  • ½ cup (4 oz) salted margarine
  • ½ cup (4 oz) refined coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs

For the Filling

  • 2 (12.5 oz) cans poppyseed filling
  • 8 ounces almond paste

For the Crumb Topping

  • 1/2 cup (3.75oz) sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (.5 oz) flour
  • 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil

Preparation Instructions

Place the first six ingredients, water through coconut oil, in the bowl of an electric mixer fit with a dough hook.* Separate one of the eggs. Add the egg white to the bowl and set the yolk aside for the glaze. Add the remaining two eggs to the mixer. Beat until the ingredients come together in a smooth dough. This can also be done by hand in a large bowl with a sturdy spoon. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and place on a warm countertop to rise for 2-4 hours. The dough will increase somewhat in size and become a bit fluffier, but it will not double in size like challah dough would.

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease two 10 inch tube pans or 12 inch loaf pans with cooking spray.

Divide the dough into four pieces. Lightly flour a large piece of parchment and roll out each piece into a rectangle approximately 10 x 7 inches. Spread ¼ of the poppyseed filling on each rectangle, leaving a half inch border on one of the long sides. Crumble up the almond paste into small bits and sprinkle them evenly over the poppyseed filling.

Tightly roll up each dough rectangle, starting with the long side that does not have the margin and ending with the side with the margin. Take two of the dough rolls and lay them side by side. Starting at the top, twist the rolls together. The easiest way to do this is to take one roll and twist is around the other one. The more twists in the dough the more layers the finished babka will have. Place the dough, seams down if possible, in one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the other two rolls.

Combine the remaining sugar, flour, and coconut oil in a medium bowl and stir until well mixed. Beat together one tablespoon of water and the remaining egg yolk. Brush the babka loaves with the egg wash and sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the tops.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until a deep brown on top. Remove the babka from the oven and let the babka cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Loosen the babka from the edges of the pan with a sharp knife, then remove from the pans and let the babka cool.

Once completely cool the babka can be wrapped tightly and frozen for several months. Warm slightly before serving.

*If using active dry yeast instead of instant, place the yeast, water, and an additional teaspoon of sugar in the bowl first. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until it bubbles. Then add the rest of the ingredients and continue with the recipe.

Babka dough recipe adapted from The Kosher Baker

Recipe Times


30 Minutes


45 Minutes


1 Hour 15 Minutes

Recipe Yield

two large loaves, approximately 25 servings

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