It ran me over like a freight train, it started with a whimper, quiet but persistent and slowly groaned into a full blown attack of nostalgia which led to today’s recipe. Maybe it was the recent Terrence Malik movie I just watched, A Hidden Life, which took place in Austria. My Polish grandparents were in charge of Easter meals, and this year, this time, though I have never had the urge to make this before, nostalgia for family holiday gathering gripped me and wouldn’t let go. So I upturned my storage unit looking for my Polish family recipes, paged through until I found this poppy seed filled, yeast risen pastry we ate every Easter morning together, Frozen Krantz is what we would call it, not sure why as it was not frozen but it is utterly Eastern European in it’s use of Poppy seeds. It was a labor of love taking two full days and phone calls to both my mother and my aunt to establish proper ingredients from my grandmother’s handwritten and now photocopied original recipe. I found it, I found my togetherness through making this. And brought it to my kids as well, I had my son roll out the dough and spread the poppy seed paste. We FaceTimed my mother and she watched in approval. I found that first bite when just barely cool enough to cut, flooded me with the scents of my grandparent's kitchen on Easter morning. Polish kielbasa my grandfather had made boiling in giant pot, pierogi sliding into their pot one by one, the bacon rendering in preparation for running over the cooked soft dough pillows stuffed with sweet cheese, the ham on the bone baking since early morning. My cousins and I would reach for the then uncut frozen Kranz and my grandmother raising that one crooked but beautiful pointer finger would say, "not yet" to all of us while wielding a wooden spoon. Her round body was dressed to the nines and Zsa Zsa Gabor famous swooping waves framed her forehead. My grandfather stood by basting the ham and checking on his kielbasa, always between a soft hum and a whistle between his teeth while he worked. I can honestly say I truly eat nothing like this and have not longed for these flavors much at all, but something about this holiday has me searching for ways to relive these gatherings centered around food, and I found it around a sweet polish pastry, thank you Grandma ( for the nudge from above), Mom, and Aunt Susan, Happy Easter.I may regret the effects of white flour and sugar on my body later but my spirit needed it. It was Anais Nin who said " we write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect" nothing more true than that, and well possibly the making of frozen Krantz before writing about it. And music, between my tastebuds and my ears a literal symphony of moving memories flood in.You may never make this, but I will share the recipe all the same.
Poppy Seed Frozen Krantz