Hungarian Nut Rolls

nutrolldoughChristmas celebrations are about tradition. These traditions bind generations together and link us to our past ancestors. Most everyone has a food tradition that has been passed down through the generations.

I come from an ethnic background of first generation Hungarian and Swiss Americans. Christmas’s of my past were very much defined by my Hungarian paternal grandparents. They lived in the heart of the Hungarian and Romanian neighborhood of Alliance, Ohio, a small Midwestern industrial city where my family lived on the outskirts of town.

Christmas life was centered around the First Hungarian Presbyterian Church and William Penn Society. My grandmother was an excellent Hungarian cook, as was my father. My mother of Swiss descent quickly adapted to and became very skilled in Hungarian cooking.

nutrollraisedHungarian nut rolls were baked as church fundraisers, graced every cookie platter and were commonly given as gifts. My mother never quite mastered Hungarian baking. Our family enjoyed the work of the other skilled Hungarian bakers.

This recipe for Hungarian nut roll comes from a cookbook that has been in my family from the 1970s. I have no idea of the cookbook name or publication date since the cover has disappeared long ago. I believe this is the most accurate recipe for nut roll that tastes and looks like the nut roll from my past.

Easy Nut or Poppy Seed Rolls (4 Rolls)
Mákos diós tekercs

Ann Chesrogi, Finutrollbakedrst Hungarian Lutheran Church, Cleveland, Ohio

2 sticks butter
4 c. flour
2 pkgs. yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 egg yolks
1 c. warm milk (105-110 degrees)

Put yeast in bowl; add sugar, salt and milk, let set 15-30 minutes.

Cut butter into flour with pastry cutter until it forms fine crumbs. Make a well in the center and drop in egg yolks and yeast mixture. Using hands, mix thoroughly until dough leaves the sides of the bowl.

Place dough on lightly floured board and cut into 2 or 4 pieces. Let rest while you make your filling.

Roll out dough into a thin rectangle.

Spread with filling, roll up as for jelly roll. Place on lightly greased jelly roll pans. Brush tops with beaten egg whites and let rise for 25 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Poppy Seed Filling

1 lb. ground poppy seed
1 1/2 c. warm milk
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla.

Combine and stir until milk is absorbed and sugar dissolved.

Nut Filling

1 lb. ground walnuts
Cinnamon or lemon rind to taste
1/2 to 3/4 c. warm milk
1/2 c. sugar

Combine and stir until milk is absorbed and sugar dissolved.

Some notes about this recipe:

  • I make the nut roll option and add a cup of golden raisins in the nut mixture.
  • I allow the dough and rolls to rise for 1 hour.
  • I also find that the filling is best when heated in a sauce pan and coked on medium heat for 5 minutes; stirring constantly. Allow to cool before spreading on dough.
  • I also make 2 long rolls rather than 4 short rolls. They can be easily cut in half for gifts or serving.
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