St. Sava Serbian Sisters' Nut Roll (Orehnjaca) Recipe

Baked roll cake with nuts filling
Yulia Shaihudinova/Getty Images
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 5 nut rolls (40 servings)
Ratings (16)

St. Sava Serbian Sisters' Circle of Merrillville, Ind., provided this recipe for nut roll. These dedicated women volunteer at least three times a year to make thousands of nut rolls, strudels, and palacinke as a fundraiser.

Some cooks use honey in the walnut filling, but the Sisters' Circle or kolo, which means "circle," uses sugar, which makes this one of the more economical recipes for nut roll out there.

Also, the amount of milk used in the filling will depend on how finely ground the nuts are. The finer they are, the more milk they will take (about 2 cups). Coarser nuts might only need 1 cup of milk. Use your judgment.

What You'll Need

  • For the Dough:
  • 2 tablespoons yeast (active dry)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (white)
  • 1/2 cup water (110 F)
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 4 large eggs (beaten)
  • 7 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (white)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces butter (cold)
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 1/2 pounds walnuts (ground, not chopped. They should look like sawdust.)
  • 2 cups sugar (white)
  • 1 to 2 cups milk (scalded, amount depending on how finely ground the walnuts are)
  • For the Egg Wash:
  • 1 to 2 large eggs (beaten with 1 teaspoon water per egg used)

How to Make It

Make the Dough

  1. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. Add evaporated milk and 4 beaten eggs, mixing well. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, and salt. Cut in butter with the fingers until crumbly.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and continue mixing by hand until a smooth dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with the mixing bowl, and let rise until doubled.
  1. Divide dough into 5 balls, cover and let rise again until doubled.

Make the Filling

  1. Meanwhile, make the filling by mixing together ground walnuts (they should look like sawdust), sugar, and scalded milk.
  2. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Assemble the Rolls

  1. Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. You shouldn't need additional flour for rolling.
  2. Spread with 1/5 of the walnut filling. Roll from the bottom up (or top down, if you prefer) and tuck in the ends.
  3. Place seam-side down on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled.

Bake the Nut Rolls

  1. Heat oven to 325 F. Pierce the nut roll down its length with a fork and then brush with egg wash.
  2. Bake nut rolls for about 30 to 40 minutes or until golden on the top and bottom.
  3. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Nut rolls can be served as is or dusted with confectioners' sugar. Nut rolls freeze well once they are baked, but not unbaked.