My mother-in-law made a Polish Easter Nut Bread every year for the holidays. I remember what it tasted like and that it took her several days to make this traditional bread. She also made about 8-10 cakes to share with the family. The recipe was in her head and never written down.
After she passed away, I looked at a number of Polish recipes for Easter Nut Bread but none of them seemed to be like hers. After a number of attempts, I was able to create a version of this bread that tastes like hers but with a lot less work. Tradition is important and my husband loved having this cake again.
Polish Easter Nut Bread
A traditional Polish family favorite made easier.
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 1 large egg
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
Dough Directions (part 1)
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix for a few turns to evenly distribute the ingredients. Add the butter cut into cubes and the egg, water, and cream. Mix until combined and the dough begins to stick together. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for about 7 minutes. It should be smooth and soft.
Put the dough in a large buttered bowl and cover it with a towel. Let it rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled.
While the dough is rising, prepare the walnut filling:
- 10 ounces walnuts
- 4 ounces (1 stick unsalted butter)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Put the walnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground.
By hand or in a mixer, cream the butter and the brown sugar until smooth. Stir in one egg, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Add the ground walnuts and mix until incorporated. Set aside.
After the dough has doubled in size:
Dough Directions (part 2)
Place the risen dough on a lightly floured board and roll it into a 20- by 15-inch rectangle.
Spread the walnut filling evenly over the dough. From the long end, roll up the dough, pinching the ends to the sides to seal it. Pull the dough to a length of 25 inches and twist the roll into a circle. Place it on a large parchment-lined baking sheet.
Let the dough rise for about 1 1/2 hours until doubled.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush it on the dough. Bake the walnut roll for 40 to 45 minutes, until it is a dark golden brown color and registers 200 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
Let the walnut roll cool for 30 minutes before cutting. The cake tastes best warm. The pastry can also be reheated in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.
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