Walnut roll is traditionally prepared during the holidays in Croatia. It’s packed with flavour and, for me personally, best when dough layer is fairly overpowered by its more attractive neighbour, walnut layer. Generous amount of walnuts ensures enough moist that makes the roll so delicious.
Its other famous, almost a twin, brother is a poppy seed roll and people often debate on which one is better.
There is no doubt as far as I am concerned. I am not a big poppy seed fan and my one and only love when it comes to rolls, will always be a walnut roll.
Enough of sentimentality, lets explain how it should be done.
Dough is made out of the following ingredients:
- butter or lard
- egg yolks
- sour cream
- baking powder
- lemon zest
Softened butter or lard, sugar and egg yolks should be mixed together first. Proceed with adding sour cream and lemon zest. Finally, add flour along with baking powder and knead the dough until smooth. Wrap it in cling film and leave in the fridge for half an hour.
Divide the dough into three equal parts. Roll out each piece of dough into a rectangular shape, measuring approximately 35×20 cm. The dough should be rolled out to a thickness of approx. 3 mm.
You should spread one third of the filling over the dough and roll it. Transfer the roll to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the process with the remaining two pieces of dough.
- ground walnuts
- vanilla extract
- egg whites
To prepare the filling, mix ground walnuts with sugar. Heat the milk up to the boiling point and pour over the walnuts. Mix well and allow to cool slightly.
Proceed by adding rum and vanilla extract. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks appear and carefully fold them into the walnut mixture.
Tip for the walnuts!
I suggest grinding walnuts old-fashioned way if possible. By that I mean using a walnut grinder. Food processors develop high speeds which triggers walnuts to release its oil.
Coating is the last part. Once you make walnut rolls, they should be buttered and sent to the oven.
Actually, this is the last part. You will need some icing sugar to dust that lovely walnuts you’ve made.
My Best Walnut Roll Recipe
For the dough
- 200 g butter or lard 7.05 oz
- 400 g flour 14.11 oz
- 60 g sugar 2.12 oz
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 ml sour cream 0.42 cup
- 1+½ tsp baking powder
- zest of one lemon
For the filling
- 300 g ground walnuts 10.58 oz
- 250 g sugar 8.82 oz
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- 100 ml milk 0.42 cup
- 2 tbsp rum
- 50 g melted butter 1.76 oz
- powdered sugar
- Mix together softened butter or lard, sugar and egg yolks. Then add sour cream and lemon zest. Add the flour along with the baking powder and knead the dough until smooth.
- Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for half an hour.
- Mix ground walnuts and sugar. Heat the milk up to the boiling point and pour over the walnuts. Mix well and allow to cool slightly. Add rum and vanilla extract.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks appear and carefully mix them into the walnut mixture.
Assembling and baking
- Divide the dough into three equal parts. Roll out each piece of dough into a rectangular shape, measuring approximately 35×20 cm. The dough should be rolled out to a thickness of approx. 3 mm.
- Coat the dough with a third of the filling and roll. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Repeat the process with the remaining two pieces of dough.
- Coat the rolls with melted butter. Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C or 360 F for about half an hour. Cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy that lovely taste.