1. Put 230g milk, 100g sugar and zest of one orange in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Grind 125g poppy seeds to a fine powder in a coffee grinder, taking care not to over-process to a paste. It’s okay to only grind about half of the poppy seeds – some folks like a mix of textures.
  3. When milk mixture is warm, turn heat to low and add poppy seeds.
  4. Cook at a low simmer stirring frequently until the seeds absorb the milk and the mixture is thick, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add lemon juice of lemon half and 1/2 tablespoon butter.
  6. Stir and cook for 2 minutes more.
  7. Stir in the vanilla extract, remove from the heat and let cool completely, or chill until needed, up to 3 days.


  1. Cream 225g sugar, 8 tablespoons butter, and lemon or orange zest.
  2. Beat in 3 eggs and 60 ml milk.
  3. Mix together the 480 g flour and 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder.
  4. Refrigerate dough for up to three days.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  6. If you’re a bit lazy, like me, take a bit of dough with your hands, roll into ball and then flatten to create a disk roughly 1/4 inch thick. Otherwise, you can roll out the dough and use a drinking glass to cut circles.
  7. Lay the disks on a baking sheet (I use parchment paper) and then add a dollop of the filling. You can also use apricot jam filling, or whatever else you like inside cookies. 
  8. Fold three sides of the disks up to form a triangle shaped cookie, pressing the ends together to seal.
  9. If you’re super fancy, add an egg wash to the tops, which can also be used to help seal the sides. I skip this step, because it doesn’t particularly affect taste, which is all that matters.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the sides are a nice golden brown. You’ll want to eat these almost immediately. After seven hours, they will not be as tasty and you’ll be kicking yourself. Come on. 

Adapted from Joan Nathan and Marcella Hazan