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Busia’s Best Polish Desserts

When it comes to Polish desserts, Busia knows best! Check out some of our favorite old-world Polish recipes filled with classic ingredients like poppy seeds, honey, plums and more.

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Polish Poppy Seed Loaf (Makowiec)

Traditionally, these loaves were eaten after sundown on Christmas Eve as part of a 12-course meal. At our house, we never can wait that long to bite into the pretty spiral slices of this tender, coffee cake-like treat.—Linda Gronewaller, Hutchinson, Kansas
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Plum Cake (Placek z Sliwkami)

In late summer when plums are in season, this tender fruit-topped cake is delectable! The plum slices look so appealing arranged in circles on top. For variety, I sometimes substitute fresh pear or apple slices instead. —Anna Daley, Montague, Prince Edward Island
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Ice Cream Kolachkes

These sweet pastries have Polish and Czech roots and can also be spelled "kolaches." They are usually filled with poppy seeds, nuts, jam or a mashed fruit mixture. The ice cream is a unique twist on traditional kolachkes, and it's simplest to use a square cookie cutter to cut the dough. —Diane Turner, Brunswick, Ohio
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Cheese-Filled Crepes (Nalesniki)

These elegant blintzes can be served as an attractive dessert or a brunch entree. The bright cherry sauce gives them a delightful flavor. I sometimes substitute other fruits, such as raspberries, blueberries or peaches. —Jessica Vantrease, Anderson, Alaska
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Grandma's Polish Cookies (Kruschiki)

This traditional khruchiki recipe has been handed down through my mother's side from my great-grandmother. As a child, it was my job to loop the end of each cookie through its hole. —Sherine Elise Gilmour, Brooklyn, New York
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Meringue Cake (Tort Bezowy)

Here's a light and airy dessert that I first tried in Ireland. When I got home, I made this berry pavlova for my kids, who loved to build their own with their favorite fruits. The whipped cream makes for icing on the cake! —Norma Stevenson, Eagan, Minnesota
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Paczki

There's no need to run to the bakery for delicious jelly doughnuts! These sweet treats are lighter than air. I've been fixing them for 25 years for my husband, our two daughters and their families. They disappear almost as fast as I make them. —Kathy Westendorf, Westgate, Iowa
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Apricot Raisin Rugelach

Rugelach is a classic addition to holiday trays. The flaky, buttery pastry slices encase a spiced fruit and walnut filling. —Laurie Klett, Hamilton, Michigan
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Thumbprint Butter Cookies

These buttery little rounds add beautiful color to a platter of treats. Fill the thumbprint in the center with any fruit preserves you like. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Traditional Fruit Compote (Kompot)

A perfect partner for your Christmas goose, this warm and fruity side dish can simmer while you prepare the rest of your menu, or make it a day ahead and reheat before serving. —Shirley A. Glaab, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
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Angel Wings

While traditionally known as palmiers, these puff pastry-based cookies (French in origin) are popular in Poland! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Rustic Honey Cake

When my boys were young, they couldn’t drink milk but they could have yogurt. This was a cake they could eat. And it’s one dessert that doesn’t taste overly sweet, which is always a nice change of pace. —Linda Leuer, Hamel, Minnesota
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Cranberry Rugelach

These traditional Polish treats will keep for a long time in an airtight container. One year, I sent a batch to my sister, but the box got lost. She received it 12 days later and reported that the cookies were worth the wait! —Jean Doxon, Omaha, Nebraska
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Apricot-Filled Tea Cookies

A Swedish friend shared this recipe with me many years ago. A chocolate glaze tops tender cookies filled with apricot jam.—Beverly Stirrat, Mission, British Columbia
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Meringue Cookies (Bezowy)

Want to learn how to make meringues? This meringue cookie recipe creates light, airy morsels. It's the perfect fat-free treat to really beat a sweets craving. —Jenni Sharp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Florentines (Florentynki)

Filled with fruit, nuts, chocolate and loads of flavor, these traditional Italian treats hit the spot. We enjoy them at Christmas with a hot beverage.
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Poppy Seed Thumbprints

My oldest son is a huge fan of these thumbprints, so I make sure they're on my baking list every Christmas. Lemon zest and poppy seeds help give this crisp cookie fantastic flavor. —Kelly Pember, Wheeler, Wisconsin
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Apple Kolaches

A fellow home cook shared this recipe for a sweet, fruit-filled pastry. My son, who isn’t a dessert fan, was disappointed when he came home to find his dad had polished off the last kolache in the batch. —Ann Johnson, Evansville, Indiana
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Old-Fashioned Almond Pear Cake

Pear lovers will find it hard to resist going back for seconds (and maybe even thirds) of this old-fashioned cake. Almond extract beautifully complements the pears and tender cake.—Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Poppy Seed Squares

When I came across the recipe for this unique appetizer, I couldn’t wait to try it. I prepare these savory squares every holiday. They’re so tasty, no one tires of them. —Jo Baden, Independence, Kansas
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Vanilla Crescent Cookies

This recipe originated in Croatia and has been in my husband's family for generations. I was thrilled when my mother-in-law shared it with me. —Beverly Williams, Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.
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