Most Croats cannot imagine their celebration, whatever the occasion is, especially Christmas, without the Orahnjača – Walnut roll, traditional Croatian recipe for yeast-based dessert.
Along with the walnut filling, poppy seed filling is common. Usually, one roll is made with walnuts and the other with poppy seeds. This recipe makes two rolls.
This recipe is part of Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World cookbook, amazing cookbook with over 400 pages that shares many recipes you can use all year round. All proceeds are going to Action Against Hunger.
Ingredients for the dough
- 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
- 20 g (5 tsp) vanilla sugar
- 500 ml (2 cup) milk
- 20 g (2 tbsp) dry yeast
- 800 g (7 2/3 cup) all purpose flour
- 115 g (1/2 cup) butter, melted
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp of rum (optional)
- zest of two lemons
Ingredients for the filling
- 500 g (5 1/2 cup) walnuts, ground
- 2 egg whites
- 200 g (1 cup) sugar
- 100 ml (1/2 cup) milk, scalded
- 1 tsp rum (optional)
Many Croats put raisins in the filling, previously soaked in rum, but I’m not a fan 😀
- In a large bowl mix flour, yeast, salt, sugar and vanilla sugar.
- Add egg yolks in the flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl warm the milk (not hot) and add butter to dissolve.
- Slowly mix in milk and butter mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon or with electric mixer spirals until blisters begin to form on the dough and the dough starts removing from the bowl edges.
- Add rum and lemon zest. Mix well until combined.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let it stand in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- In the meantime, prepare the filling. Beat egg whites until stiff.
- Pour the scalded milk over the ground walnuts.
- Combine with sugar and rum. Allow to cool.
- Gently fold in beaten egg whites.
- To assemble spread flour on a large table-cloth.
- Divide the dough into two parts.
- Roll each part out very thin and fill with walnut filling.
- Roll by lifting the edge of the table-cloth on which the dough was rolled out.
- Grease the baking pan. Place the rolls into the pan.
- Put in the oven on 50 °C (125 °F) to rise again.
- Then heat the oven to 170 °C (240 °F) and bake for 40-50 minutes or until they become golden. Let cool in the pan.
- Brush with oil when cooled.
Note: It is very important that there is no draft in the room where the dough is rising. It will not rise properly.
What is your traditional Christmas dessert?