If you have spent time in Poland during the Christmas season, you probably have come across the Polish nut roll. This pastry, while easy to make, tends to be quite popular during wintertime. One might even call it a Polish Christmas specialty. In Poland, this nut roll is called rolada orzechowa. Another similar cake that is made during this time of the year is the makowiec poppy seed roll.
For most people, the authentic Polish nut roll recipe is handed down through the generations, and making it is a part of the Christmas fun and tradition. You will find that this pastry is packed with flavor. The light bread texture is complemented by the dense taste of nuts and sweet sugar glaze. It pairs really well with a hot cup of tea or coffee which is why it is often served as a tea-time snack.
Authentic Polish Nut Roll Recipe – Rolada Orzechowa
Making The Dough
Part I – Melt The Butter
Melt 1 stick of butter in 1 cup of milk. Do not make this very hot. This is because extremely hot milk and butter will kill the yeast that will be used in the next steps. We need the milk to be warm enough to touch. This will encourage the yeast action to take place which will in turn help our bread rise.
Part II – Add The Remaining Ingredients
Add in 5 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp. of instant yeast, 4 egg yolks, ½ cup of sugar and ½ tsp of salt. Use a food processor to knead the dough. You can also knead the dough using your own hands. Note that the dough will feel very sticky and that is absolutely okay. It is the texture that we are aiming for in this recipe.
Part III – Place The Dough In A Big Bowl And Cover It
Once you are done kneading the dough, bring it all together into one bowl and place it in the center of a big bowl. Use a clean kitchen towel to cover it. This will keep the dough from drying out.
Part IV – Leave The Bowl In A Warm Place
This is another important aspect of the authentic Polish nut roll recipe. In order for the bread to have the nice light and fluffy texture that you associate with Polish nut roll, the yeast needs both time and a warm environment. Leave the dough in a warm place for around 90 minutes. The rule of thumb is that the dough should double in size. Note that if you stay in a cooler climate, this may take longer than anticipated.
Make The Nut Filling
Part I – In A Pot Melt The Butter And Sugar
Combine 5 tbsps. of butter with ½ cup sugar. Melt it in a pot. Make sure to do it at a low flame otherwise it will caramelize.
Part II – Add 11 Oz Ground Walnuts And ¾ Cup Milk
Part III – Cook For 5-10 Minutes
Cook the mixture for 5-10 minutes stirring constantly. The filling will start to thicken over time. When the filling has thickened nicely, switch off the stove and allow it to cool.
Assemble And Bake The Cake
Part I – Preheat The Oven To 356F
Preheating the oven is a very important step. It allows the oven to be at exactly the right temperature required for the authentic Polish nut roll recipe. Too cold and the dough will not rise well. This will give you a thick and rather chewy cake.
Too hot on the other hand will burn the Polish nut roll without letting it cook through.
Part II – Divide The Dough Into 2 Parts
Part III – Roll The Dough Out
Take both the pieces of dough and roll them out on a floured surface. While doing so make sure that the thickness of the dough is ½ inch. Too thin and the cake will crack. This will cause the filling to spill out. Too thick and it will not taste as good.
Part IV – Spread The Filling On The Dough Avoiding The Edges
Part V – Roll The Pastries
Once the filling has been layered, it is time to roll the authentic Polish nut rolls. Start at one of the long ends of the dough and gently roll them over. Make sure to tuck the ends of the dough underneath it. This will prevent any of the excess filling from spilling out.
Part VI – Brush The Rolls With Egg Whites
Part VII – Place The Nut Rolls On A Pan Lined With Baking Paper.
Part VIII – Bake For 35 Minutes
Decorating The Polish Nut Rolls
Part I – Make The Sugar Glaze
Making the sugar glaze is really easy. Combine 1 cup of icing sugar with 4 tbsps. of warm water. Stir it well. This will give you a thick-ish consistency.
Part II – Cover The Polish Nut Rolls With Sugar Glaze
When the Polish nut rolls have cooled, generously cover them with the sugar glaze. Sprinkle dried fruits and nuts on top. Slice and serve.
FAQ About Authentic Polish Nut Rolls
1. Can I Substitute Walnuts With Other Nuts?
2. My Dough Didn’t Rise. Can I Still Go Ahead With The Recipe?
For this recipe, it is essential that the dough rises. If you go ahead with the recipe, the Polish nut roll will not rise and it will give you a hard and chewy pastry. If your dough has not risen, there are two things that could have gone wrong. You could have used expired yeast or yeast that isn’t good. You could also have heated the milk and butter too much which could have killed the yeast.
The other reason may be that you just need more time for the dough to grow. If your home is cold, you may even wait for 3 hours until the dough doubles its size.
3. What Causes The Nut Roll To Crack?
The nut roll will crack if the dough has been rolled too thin. This is because the filling is a little wet in texture and a very thin dough will not provide it a barrier. In order to avoid this, make sure that the dough is rolled out at ½ inch thickness.
The other reason is that you didn’t roll it out correctly and there was a free space in the cake. Don’t worry about it! The taste will still be awesome.
- 5 cups (600g) of all-purpose flour
- 1 stick (110g) of butter
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 tbsp (7g) of instant yeast
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup (130g) of sugar
- ½ tsp of salt
- 11 oz (300g) of ground walnuts
- ½ cup (130g) of sugar
- 5 tbsp (75g) of butter
- ¾ cup of milk
- 1 cup of icing sugar
- 4 tbsps of warm water
- dried fruits and nuts to decorate
Make The Dough
- Melt the butter in warm milk (don't make it too hot!).
- Add the remaining ingredients and knead the dough (using your hands or food processor). The dough may be a bit sticky but it's ok.
- Place the dough in a big bowl then cover it with a clean kitchen cloth.
- Leave the bowl in a warm place for about 90 minutes until the dough doubles its size.
Make The Nut Filling
- In a pot, melt butter with sugar.
- Add ground walnuts and milk.
- Cook for about 5-10 minutes until the filling gets thick, stirring all the time. Allow to cool.
Assemble And Bake The Cake
- Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C).
- Divide the dough into 2 parts.
- Roll each piece out onto a floured surface to just under ½” thickness.
- Spread the filling onto the dough, avoiding the edges.
- Roll up the pastries, starting at one of the long ends. Make sure to tuck the ends of the roll under it. (that will prevent the filling from leaking out).
- Brush the rolls with egg whites.
- Place nut rolls on a pan lined with baking paper.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
Decorate The Rolls
- When the rolls are cold, make the sugar glaze by mixing icing sugar with warm water.
- Cover the nut rolls with the sugar glaze.
- Sprinkle with dried fruits and nuts.
- The recipe will work for any other kinds of nuts (almonds, cashew nuts, etc,)
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 85mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 4g
These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix