There is no delicacy so cherished in my family as walnut rolls. We carry sentiments toward the pastries passed on through both my mother’s and father’s families. Both of my grandpas’ moms were masterful walnut roll makers. It’s a special occasion pastry at our house, so it was the perfect gift for my Dad on Father’s Day.
I’ll be honest, my walnut rolls were not perfect. The seams split while they were baking and you were able to peer in the second layer of the rolls. To me looking into a walnut roll is like looking into the past. Somewhere far back in Eastern Europe, someone started the first layer of a walnut roll, and then passed it on to their children. Since then each family baker has rolled their own layer, and now I’ve been handed a thick rich roll, that I hopefully won’t screw up before I pass it on. Each layer has a different flavor, depending on the generation. Perhaps the recipes have completely changed from the birth until, and when you reach the middle of the roll you’re eating a completely different thing. Lots of families have precious heirlooms passed between generations, my family has walnut rolls.
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco
2-3 cups of Flour
2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
2 tbs sugar
1 pkt. active dry yeast
1/2 cup carnation milk 2 tbs. water (110 F)
3/4 lbs. ground walnuts
1/2 cup ground vanilla wafers
2 egg whites (beaten but not stiff)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 milk (or enough to make it spread easily)
1. Dissolve yeast in water, add milk. In a large bowl mix all dough ingredients.
2. Knead dough for 10 min, (should be soft). Let rise and double in size.
3. Separate into 2 balls, let rise for five minutes.
4. Thoroughly mix walnuts, wafers, and sugar. Add eggs and milk.
5. Roll out the dough (not too thin) into rectangular shapes. Spread filling in evenly in the middle, but not near any edges.
6. Roll up along the short side, press the seam and end tightly closed. Prick with a fork. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 (F) for 40 minute. Slice into pieces and serve.