Fox Recipe Box: Mom’s Easter Nut Roll

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Chef Bob Sferra grew up enjoying homemade Kolachi and Nut Roll in his mother’s kitchen. As one of Cleveland’s busiest chefs, running the popular catering company ‘Culinary Occasions’, Bob is paying homage to his mom by sharing one of her beloved recipes. Fox 8’s Todd Meany learned how to make ‘Mom’s Easter Nut Roll’. This recipe will also be featured in Bob’s upcoming cooking class ‘Classic Italian Easter Pastries’. Click here for more information about this class and all of the classes offered at Culinary Occasions.

Mom’s Easter Nut Roll

Makes 3-10 inch rolls or crescents

For the Dough                                                  


1 small cake of fresh yeast* 

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 cup tepid water, 70-90º


¼ cup sour cream

3 egg yolks


2 ½  cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the surface

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

1. Measure the warm water in a standard measuring cup, add the yeast and sugar; stir to dissolve and proof.    To determine if the yeast is active you will need to “proof.”  Let the mixture stand 10 minutes. If the yeast foams to the 1/2 cup mark, it is active and you may use it in your recipe.  

2. In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream and egg yolks together and set aside.

3. In a second separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt and softened butter as for pie crust.  Add the yeast and beaten egg yolk mixture to the bowl; blend all of the ingredients well.  Once the dough begins to hold together; pour into a floured work surface and knead for 5 minute, until smooth and silky; the dough may be a bit sticky, add more flour as needed being careful not to add to much flour. 

4. Place the dough in a buttered bowl large enough to allow dough to double in size.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Continue on to make the filling.

5. Divide dough into 3 equal parts.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll each piece into a 1/8” thick rectangle approximately 12” x 6”.  Spread the nut filling over, leaving ¼ inch all the way around.  Roll up the 6” side, tuck the dough on the two ends under and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Brush with the egg wash and cover with plastic wrap or a flour sack type of kitchen towel.  Leave to rise approximately 1 ½ hours.

6. Pierce the surface of the rolls in 8 separate places, brush with egg wash and bake for 25 minutes, turn and transfer shelves; then continue to bake an additional 25 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.

For the Filling

1 lb. ground nuts

Pinch of salt

½ cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons honey

½ cup milk, scalded

4 ounces unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 egg whites

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

  1. In a large bowl, mix the ground nuts with pinch of salt, sugar and honey; set aside. 
  2. In a small sauce pan, scald the milk, then add the butter and cool; add the vanilla extract to the cooled milk/butter mixture and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, begin to whip the egg whites and gradually add the 2 Tablespoons of sugar.  Whip to form a meringue (stiff peaks).
  4. Add the milk/butter mix to the nut mixture, and then gently fold in the meringue to form a smooth filling.  The filling can be made up to 8 hours ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
  5. Once the rolls have cooled, spread or brush on a mixture of powdered sugar and a little milk; sprinkle with nuts to garnish.

*(a .6 ounce cake of fresh yeast is equal to 1 envelope of dry yeast and 1 envelope of dry yeast is approximately 2 ¼ teaspoons)


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