§ 3 of The Opium Poppy Control Act states
It shall be unlawful for any person who is not the holder of a license authorizing him to produce the opium poppy, duly issued to him by the Secretary of the Treasury in accordance with the provisions of this Act, to produce the opium poppy, or to permit the production of the opium poppy in or upon any place owned, occupied, used, or controlled by him.
Poppy seeds, or Mohn as we call it in Austria, is very important part in our cooking. And particularly important in baking. Mohnnudeln comes to mind when talking about poppy-dishes ….
Mohnnudeln (meaning poppy seed noodles in German), is the name of thick noodles of a potato dough in Bohemian and Austrian cuisine, similar to the Schupfnudel. The main difference is, that Mohnnudeln are served with melted butter, ground poppy seeds, and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.
They are also called Waldviertler Mohnnudeln, referring to the Austrian area where they originated. Waldviertel is a part of Lower Austria where poppy seeds have been cultivated for ages, which give the dish its distinct black coloring.
Mohnnudeln can be eaten as a dessert or a light supper. Most Bavarians and Austrians serve it traditionally as a main course anyway.
And yes, like the old romans, we in Vindobona, (good old Vienna), we like a bit of a kick in our food from time to time …. and yes, we do cultivate Opium Poppy in Austria …. and yes, we can eat it, we can cook (or bake) with it …. AND YES, if we smoke it we do go to jail.
Poppy seeds do need work before you can bake or cook with it. It is not a matter of “throwing some in”. I do not move anywhere without my Mohnmühle. It has been part of my luggage since at least twenty-five years. It was my grandmothers once. And boy could she bake with poppy …. it literally would make you dizzy ….
But the one thing we would be waiting for was Mohnnudeln. The little dumplings …. rolled in butter …. and topped with poppy-seed-sugar …. with apple sauce or roasted plums …. Powidl …. on the side.
It was almost ten o’clock in the evening the other day, and did not have any decent dessert in a couple of days. I do ALWAYS have a couple of packets of poppy seeds in the chocolate drawer. No, I did not start making Nockerl or Nudel in the middle of the night. I used a packed of Potato Gnocchi from De Cecco I kept in the cabinet.
Of course, you could make your own:
- 1/2 kg boiled potatoes cooled and shredded
- 120 g all purpose flour
- 40 g butter softened
- 2 egg yolk
- 1 pinch salt
Mix the ingredients to a dough. The dough should give under slight pressure. It will feel firm but yielding. Form small dumplings and boil in rolling, salted water until gnocchi float to the surface.
For one 500 g packet of De Cecco Potato Gnocchi you will need
- 100 g poppy seeds
- 100 g icing sugar
- 60 g butter
- a pinch of ground cinnamon if desired
- Grind the poppy seeds … and NO the food processor will NOT do it.
- Mix with the icing sugar
- In a mid sized cooking pot bring lightly salted water to a boil. put in the gnocchi and boil for two minutes, strain of all the water
- Melt the butter in a separate casserole
- Throw in the hot gnocchi and roll in the butter
- add half the poppy and sugar mix
- plate on you favourite dessert plat
- sprinkle generously with the remaining poppy mixture
- serve with apple sauce …. home made of course
- or Powidl …. (roasted plum stew)
…. of course you could ask your Austrian Grandma to make you some ….
…. I did …