For the Dough
Dissolve yeast with 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water.
In a mixing bowl, cream together remaining sugar and shortening. Add flour and add eggs 1 by 1. Add the salt and evaporated milk and mix in. Add the lukewarm milk and yeast mixture.
Using a dough hook on a pastry machine, slowly beat in 2–3 cups flour 1 cup at a time until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you work by hand, use a wooden spoon to fold in the flour and beat until smooth. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then beat again until dough is elastic and glossy.
Cover dough in bowl with a tea towel and let rise for 1 hour. When it has doubled in size after 1 hour, punch it down. Cover bowl and let rise again for another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Roll out the dough on a floured table to about 1 inch thick. Cut with a cookie cutter, and place on a greased pan. Butter each roll and let rise for about 20 minutes.
Make a small indention in the middle of each roll and fill each with a little poppy seed filling. Let rise for about 15 minutes.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until light brown.
Poppy Seed Filling
Heat the milk until it comes to a boil. Mix the poppy seeds with sugar, flour and salt and add slowly to the milk mixture. Boil slowly over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Add more milk if the mixture is too stiff. Add butter and vanilla. Cool completely before using.
Rub all ingredients together until it resembles sand. Store in the freezer until ready to use.