Ukrainian Nut Roll – Recipe
If you ever attended a Ukrainian Christmas or Easter Bazaar, you must have been amazed by how many baked goods there are available for sale, plus tables flooded with Nut Rolls, Poppy Seed Rolls, Lekvar Rolls, Apricot Rolls, and other goodies, not to mention a traditional hot meal of Borscht, Varenyky, Holubtsi, Kapusta with Kovbasa, and fresh rye bread.
These rolls are made out of sweet yeast-raised dough, then filled with one’s favorite filling, rolled up, then baked to a nice golden color.
My favorite is a Nut Roll, filled with a creamy mixture made out of ground walnuts. Today I will share my sister-in-law’s recipe for a Nut Roll, however, I also used Solo brand Poppy Seed, Apricot, and Plum (Lekvar-like jam) fillings for my rolls.
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt (or 1/4 if you prefer)
- 5 tsp. instant dry yeast (2packets)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten until foamy
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4.5 cups all-purpose flour (I use Gold Medal unbleached)
- 2 egg whites for egg wash
- 2 egg yolks plus 1 Tbs. milk for another egg wash
- 1 lb. walnuts- ground up fine
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
- Combine the ground nuts, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
- Gently fold in the egg whites.
- Fold in the honey.
- Pour milk into a saucepan, add butter, sugar and salt. Cook, mixing frequently until the sugar and butter are melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In another bowl proof yeast by adding it to warm water and 1 tsp. sugar. Let rest for 10 minutes until it starts to froth.
- Add the yeast to the cooled milk mixture, and the 2 beaten eggs, until combine.
- In a large bowl combine 2 cups of flour with the yeast and milk mixture.
- Gradually add the remaining flour, and keep on mixing by hand or in a mixer, until a soft dough is formed, about 15 - 20 minutes.
- Cover the dough with a saran wrap or a kitchen towel. Keep it in a warm, draft free place until it doubles in bulk (about 1 – 1.5 hours).
- Deflate the dough, by punching it down few times. Cover and let rise again.
- Divide the dough into 2 ,3 or 4 even portions.
- Roll out each into a thin (1/8 inch) rectangle (it could be a little thicker if you prefer your layers that way).
- Prepare an egg wash, by beating lightly 2 egg whites, and using a pastry brush, brush it lightly over the rolled out dough, before spreading the filling. (this prevents the filling from separating from the dough during baking.
- Spread filling over the dough (leave at least 1 inch of unfilled edge all around the rectangle), and starting at the shorter end, roll up tightly.
- Pinch together, or tuck under the ends of the roll, to prevent the filling from oozing out during baking.
- Place the roll, seam down, on a well greased pan (I would suggest using a greased parchment paper over your pan for easier cleaning in case the filling leeks out during baking).
- Cover and let rise again (30-40 min.)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Brush the top of each roll with the egg yolk and milk egg wash.
- Bake for 1 hour.(depending on your oven, it might be a little bit shorter - 50-55 minutes). I made 3 rolls, and baked them for 50 minutes.
- If the tops begin to get too dark, you may drape an aluminum foil over them, until baked.
- Remove from the oven, let cool in a pan for 10 minutes, then remove unto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Before serving, slice it into ½ inch pieces, and arrange it nicely on a serving platter.
- These are best when freshly baked, just like any yeast raised baked goods.
2022 I updated the recipe for the walnut filling, since my sister-in-law told me it did not require any cooking, just folding in the ingredients. Makes sense and so much easier.
The baked rolls freeze very well for up to 3 months, by being wrapped in a paper towel, plastic or foil wrap, then stored in a freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Unwrap before serving and slice into serving pieces.