pull apart lemon poppy seed sweet rolls

Hugo woke up with a bit of a puppy hangover on Wednesday  morning.  In a Marley & Me-esque moment, he consumed an entire box of Valentine’s Day chocolates, box, ribbon, and all on Tuesday.  I arrived at my desk to find a phone message, an email, and a text from John, all somewhere along the lines of “HELP! DOG ATE ENTIRE BOX OF CHOCOLATE.  What should I do????”  Vets were called, work was missed, and many rolls of paper towels were used.  Hugo shook it off just fine; a little worse for the ware from a sleepless night and an empty stomach, but my little angel will live to see another day.

Needless to say, we are all very much relieved. 

In need of some near-death experience consolation, I embarked on a little baking project this weekend:  a plump pan of pull apart rolls twisted with poppy seeds, butter, sugar, and lemon zest, which were inspired by this pull-apart lemon loaf on Leite’s Culinaria.  A little patience (hello, yeast dough) is rewarded with tender and melting rolls perfect for a breakfast or a just a sweet treat.  Not to worry, I’m keeping these well out of paw’s reach.     

One Year Ago: Chicken and Spatzel with White Wine & Creme Fraiche, Roasted Mushroom Soup with Barley and Kale

Makes 12 rolls & serves 4-6. 

Pull Apart Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls

For the Sweet Roll Dough

  • 2 ½ cups + 2 tbsp / 355g all purpose flour  (+ more for rolling)
  • ¼ cup / 50g granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ tsp / 1 package dry active yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup / 70g whole milk
  • 4 tbsp / 56g unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup / 56g water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

For the Lemon Poppy Seed Filling

  • ½ cup / 100g granulated sugar
  • finely grated zest of 3 small lemons (about 3 tbsp)
  • finely grated zest of 1 medium orange (about 1 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 3 tbsp / 42 g unsalted butter, melted

For the Lemon Glaze

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Begin by making the dough.  Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment.  Mix to combine.  Combine the milk and butter in a small sauce pan over low heat and heat just until the butter is melted.  Alternatively, melt together in the microwave.  Allow to cool slightly, then whisk in the water, eggs, and vanilla extract. 

Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until a dough forms.  Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and kneed until no longer sticky – 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size – approximately one hour.  Punch down the dough and set in the refrigerator overnight. 

The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 inch spring form cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Make the filling by combining the sugar, lemon zest, orange zest, and poppy seeds in a small bowl.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, working on a lightly floured surface, pat into a rectangle.  Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 20 inches long and 10 inches wide; keep the longer side facing you.  Brush the dough with melted butter and evenly sprinkle over the lemon-poppy mixture. 

Roll the dough over itself beginning at the side closest to you, forming a spiral.  Cut the spiral into 12 even pieces.  Transfer the rolls to the prepared pan, spiral side up, tucking any loose ends under each roll.  Be sure to evenly space the rolls as they will expand – I did 9 around the edge and 3 inside the circle. 

Cover the rolls with a clean dish towel and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size about 1 to 1 ½ hours.  Bake the rolls 30-35 minutes until golden brown. 

While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and lemon juice in small bowl.  Once cooked, transfer the rolls to a wire rack to cool 5 to 10 minutes, then drizzle over the glaze while still warm.  Serve warm or room temperature – the rolls are best eaten the day they are made. 

  1. Dogs will eat almost anything. My father´s name is Hugo. So it was funny. I live in Buenos Aires and have a customer whose dog is named Carola, which is my mother´s name. So I guess they´ll be a perfect couple. Your blog is great, I just discovered it, via Lottie + Doof.

  2. So this looks delicious! Do you have recommendations for making these types of things gluten free? Thank you!!

    • hey there! I’ve had some success with the Bob’s Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour blend – I’ve done scones, pie dough, etc. & it works great. Never tried it with something yeasted, but definietely something soft like this would be the place to start. Of course you need gluten for structure in more hearty bread baking. Give it a whirl, and let me know!

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