semi di papavero

Poppy seeds (Papaver somniferum)

Do you know the little blue seeds of the poppy flower?

The blue ones are best known here in Europe. But there are also grey or white poppy seeds. The white ones are mainly used in India.

Thanks to their nutty taste, they are very versatile

You can use them for sweet and savoury dishes. For example, if you sprinkle them on rolled puff pastry and then bake them you get a delicious aperitif pastry! Or maybe you know the poppy seed rolls, the rolls with the pretty little blue dots? They can also be an ingredient for fresh pasta, in salads, in breakfast muesli, or baked in braids, and so on. They fit everywhere where you like a slightly nutty taste. But poppy seeds are better known for sweet dishes. Austrian poppy dumplings are a good example. Or the poppy seed cake! This cake is wonderfully airy and because it contains no flour, it is gluten-free. The poppy seeds make it slightly crunchy.

In our country the red poppy Papaver rhoeas, a different species of poppy, is well known for its fiery red flowers.

It grows mainly on the edge of cereal fields. Papaver somniferum instead, has white to purple petals. The seeds are enclosed in the capsules. Opium is also extracted from poppy flowers, but the seeds that are sold are harmless for our health.

Poppy seeds are also used to produce oil, which can be eaten or used in cosmetics.

By the way: in some recipes ground seeds are required, but it’s difficult to find them. And since they contain a lot of oil, they are also difficult to grind and quickly become a paste… A little tip from me: freeze the poppy seeds before grinding and grind them still frozen, this way they become less “pasty”.


Here is the recipe for

Poppy-seed cake


  • 150 g butter
  • 175 g sugar (1)
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 5 egg whites
  • 2 TBSP sugar (2)
  • 125 g ground almonds (or nuts)
  • 1 pinch of baking powder
  • 200 g poppy seeds


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Mix butter, sugar (1), vanilla sugar and egg yolk until the mixture is foamy and homogeneous.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, then add the sugar (2) and continue beating until the mixture is shiny.

Mix the foamy mixture well but gently with the beaten egg whites, almonds, baking powder and poppy seeds.

Line a cake tin about 30 cm long with baking parting foil and spread the dough in it.

Bake the cake at 180°C for about 60 minutes.



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