Grandma’s Polish Nut Roll Recipe (aka Easter Nut Roll)

A traditional Polish Easter Nut Roll handed down from my Grandma to my Mom to us kids. This is a sweet bread rolled with a buttery walnut filling. My Grandmother, and then later my Mom, and now my sisters and I, always make this at Easter. My mom usually doubled this recipe and made about 18 rolls, handing them out to neighbors and friends. Not only was this an Easter dish, my mom also made these at Christmas to hand out as gifts.

If I pass down any family polish recipe to my son, this is the one recipe I choose. I have such fond memories of my mom making these.  The aroma of the walnut filling cooking, the dough rising, the rolls baking in the oven. We weren’t able to eat the nut rolls when they came out of the oven… We had to wait, let them start to cool, ice them and then give them away! What?!? Give them away? NOOOOO…

Well, we kept 3 or 4 for us to eat on Easter morning and for Easter dinner as our dessert. Honestly, I look forward to this more than any easter candy. If you are to add one new tradition, this is the one to add.

Polish Nut Rolls (aka Easter Nut Roll)

Serves 9 loaves
Prep time 2 hours
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 30 minutes
By author Dish Ditty

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 3 packets Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 cups Warm Water
  • 5 Medium Eggs (lightly beaten together)
  • 7-8 cups All Purpose Flour (or as much needed to make soft, elastic dough -- amount varies)
  • 2oz Whiskey

Walnut Filling (approx 1 c. per roll)

  • 6 1/2 cups English Walnuts (chopped fine, can substitute pecans in a pinch (measure 1 cup after the nuts are chopped))
  • 1 1/2 cup Butter
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup Milk
  • 5 Medium Egg Yolks

Icing Mixture

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Butter (melted)
  • 2 Medium Egg Whites
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1lb Powdered Sugar

Note

Warm it up: These are so delicious when warm. Just heat a slice of the nut roll in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.

Can be frozen: These work well frozen (best without icing). Just bake, cool, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap before freezing.

Grandma's recipe: My grandma's recipe's instructions just said "Spread walnut filling on sweet dough: roll and bake". This is my mom's version with a little more instruction!

Variation 1: The walnut filling is perfect as a filling for shortbread tartlets, topped with a little melted chocolate.

Variation 2: Suz came up with a variation that is also delicious. Take a well gelled pie filling or jam and spread on the sweet dough and roll up as normal. Make sure the dough isn't rolled out too thin for this variation otherwise the dough stays too wet and won't bake all the way. Cool and ice the same as regular nut roll.

Directions

Make the Walnut Filling First
Step 1
Make the walnut filling first so that it has time to cool fully before using. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature before spreading on the rolled out dough. Reserve at least 2 egg whites for the icing mixture.
Make the Dough
Step 2
Scald milk (heat until bubbles start to form) in a saucepan (or microwave, approximately 90 seconds). Remove from heat and stir in sugar, salt and butter. Stir until the butter is completely melted. Cool to lukewarm.
Step 3
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water (100-110 degrees) and add in about 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Allow to sit until mixture starts bubbling (this is called proofing the yeast). Stir in the milk mixture followed by the eggs, whiskey and then the flour, added one cup at a time. Add the flour until a soft elastic dough forms. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle for the first 4-5 cups and then switch to the dough hook. Once you have added all the flour, knead the dough either by hand or in a mixer with a bread hook for about 5 minutes. Put the dough into a greased (Crisco, butter, or olive oil) bow, cover with a damp towel and let raise until doubled in bulk (approximately 45 minutes).
Step 4
Punch the dough down after doubling, then separate (pull or cut) into nine equal portions. Keep the portions of dough waiting to be rolled covered with a damp towel. Form one of the portions into a ball (about the size of a softball). Roll out the ball on a floured board into an 18 inch round pizza pie shape. Spread a generous portion of the walnut (see below for recipe), on the surface of the dough, leaving about 1 inch of dough without filling so you can make a seam when rolled. Roll up into a long loaf, being sure to end the roll on the filling-free side. Place the roll, seams side down, onto a greased (with Crisco or Pam) cookie sheet, leaving some room in between the rolls to raise, and allow them to raise until doubled in bulk (about 30 minutes).

**About 2 rolls per cookie sheets will allow enough room for raise without touching. If the rolls touch, you are likely to have walnut filling leaking through and the dough in that spot won't be done.
Step 5
Once doubled, make sure there is still room between each rolls to allow for further rising in the oven during baking. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 18 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool and ice with the icing mixture below.
Step 6
Blend the butter, egg whites and vanilla extract in a bowl. Gradually stir in the powdered sugar. Adjust with a little water or powdered sugar as necessary for a smooth creamy texture.

10 Replies to "Grandma's Polish Nut Roll Recipe (aka Easter Nut Roll)"

  • comment-avatar
    Alicia W. June 30, 2014 (9:52 am)

    Are the chopped nuts measured before or after they are chopped fine?

    • comment-avatar
      Dish Ditty June 30, 2014 (10:07 am)

      After they are chopped is best. I’ll add that to the recipe. Thanks!

  • comment-avatar
    Yolie Garcia December 27, 2014 (5:12 pm)

    YAY!!! We sooo missed your mom’s Nut Roll at Xmas time. Suzy was just over with cookies and told me about your website…Thanks, Vivian!! I’m going to share info with Deb too. I’ll definitely be making this special dessert. We miss your Mom. Hugs, Yolie

  • comment-avatar
    Karen July 29, 2016 (1:02 pm)

    Hi, It’s just the two of us. Would you be able to share recommended measurements for 2 or 3 loaves? Some ingredients like eggs could throw things off. Thank you.

    • comment-avatar
      Dish Ditty July 30, 2016 (5:36 pm)

      Honestly, we’ve never made it any smaller. I have used the filling with other bread/dough recipes. Even with Pillsbury products. 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Nadine O'Malley December 14, 2016 (5:30 pm)

    Mine always crack,your look like the have slots in the top,do they?

    • comment-avatar
      Dish Ditty December 14, 2016 (5:37 pm)

      No slots in the top. I do know they sometimes crack, but be sure to have the moist towel on them when they are rising and maybe your oven is too high? Also, I wonder if I am missing instructions that when rising the rolls for the last time, they should be covered with a damp towel. I’m pretty sure I do that, but I don’t see it in the recipe.

  • comment-avatar
    Jean December 19, 2016 (4:48 pm)

    Can you omit whisky? What does it add to dough?

    • comment-avatar
      Dish Ditty December 19, 2016 (5:24 pm)

      I’ve never tried it without. If you do want to omit it, substitute it with another liquid. Let me know how it goes.

    • comment-avatar
      Dish Ditty December 23, 2016 (8:50 am)

      Hi Jean,
      We just made these for Christmas yesterday and we didn’t have any whisky… so we tried it without. It tasted right and worked really well. The only thing that seemed different was that without the whisky, the crust was a little softer, not as much of a ‘crust’ on it. But, other than that, it worked well.

      Enjoy!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.