Hello, Yankee Belle Cafe! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I've got a super recipe to share. It's not only delicious, but it's traditional for Christmas time AND it comes with a love story. (You know how much I enjoy a good love story.) This one definitely falls into the genre of fairy tale, and if you've read many fairy tales you'll see why.
(book carving art by Su Blackwell)
Once upon a time there was a happy young family. A mother and a father, two little boys, and a village where nothing very exciting happened, except all the small events in life that make living worthwhile. Seasons passed peacefully.
Then a brutal civil war began and the young father was drafted into the army.
The war raged on.
Across the sea there lived a man who lived a quiet life in a peaceful part of the world. His children were grown and off on their own adventures.The man heard about the war. He knew what it was like to grow up without the things a boy might need, so he decided to become a benefactor.
But the young boys were eager to see the new land and finally their mother agreed to a short visit.
There were many strange and mysterious things in this land. Like lime jello. And self-locking doors. And cheese that went in the fridge. But the strangers had one thing in common.
And the man's heart was empty and sad.
Oh, wait. The nut roll! We've forgotten the nut roll. I got so excited about the fairy tale, I forgot the food.
So, Nada Belavic is the brave young woman who took a leap of faith and ended up over here married to the old, cranky-pants man (hi, Dad!). That was many years ago, when I was just graduating from college. She introduced us to all her delicious Croatian recipes and in turn, we introduced her to lime Jello. (I know she's very grateful about the Jello. She hasn't said so, but I believe it.)
Now, my husband is a huge fan of Nada's nut roll. I'm afraid if it came down to me or the nut roll, I might have to fend for myself. So, in the interests of preserving my marriage, I asked Nada to teach me how to make this delicious dessert.
She took one of her few days off from her job as a nurse to come over and tutor me in the mysteries of nut rolls. (Right, she not only moved to a faraway land, but learned English, homeschooled her sons and went to college, too. Overachiever alert!)
We have an abundance of walnuts (unleashing my inner squirrel this fall gave us close to twenty pounds) so I have the kids shell and then I grind them up. You'll need a lot, close to four cups.
Nada says it's probably a traditional recipe for the Christmas season because the nuts are readily available, and it also gets dark so early. What can you do but sit around the fire and shell walnuts? This dish is usually reserved for feast days and New Year's.
4 c. flour sifted (I don't usually sift the flour, but it makes this a lot easier if you don't have to work out the lumps)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
2 1/2 tbs sugar
1c. lukewarm milk
1/4 cup water
So, make a well with the flour, and add in the center the first four ingredients. Then gradually add in the milk and water, stirring with a fork as you go.
In the center, add one beaten egg and 1 tsp of grated lemon peel. (A small person has come to watch the proceedings. He's thinking this might turn into something delicious... soon.)
Add 2 tbs oil to the mix.
Knead it until it looks glossy. Put in a clean, greased bowl, let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size..
Preheat the oven to 350F while the rolls are rising.
Ready for the oven!
So, it took about thirty minutes, but you 'll want to check on them often after about twenty. They need to puff, but not burn the tops. Sometimes the top can be hard and crusty, and a bit of butter melted on it will solve that problem. But it seemed to be just soft enough so I skipped the butter part.
rehnjača and they're delicious!
Dođi, Gospodine Isuse! Come Lord Jesus!