My family didn’t have many holiday traditions, at least when it came to food. We did make tamales sometimes, but we only started doing this when I was in my late teens and my brother’s wife made some and shared the recipe.
However, my best friend Jill’s family had many culinary holiday traditions. One of them was a nut roll that was made and served after midnight mass. It is eastern European in origin and goes by many names. The Thomas’s called it Orahnjača, which is the Croatian name. It is an enriched sweet yeast dough that is rolled out thinly and spread with a ground walnut paste. The dough is then rolled up and baked.
The tradition lives on although her grandparents have both since passed away. It’s a lovely reminder and I’m happy the the kids and grandkids continue to make this holiday treat.
The original recipe is not vegan, but can be made so with a few substitutions. This is a very rich bread with lots of sugar and fat and takes several hours to make. No wonder it’s a holiday treat. It is fun to make, particularly if you have family and friends to help. Although Gram would prefer the traditional egg and dairy version, I’m glad I can continue to enjoy this lovely bread that reminds me of her kindness and love.
This recipe will make two loaves.