There is no better way to wind down an old year or to start a new year than being with family. The 2016 year-end holidays, fortunately, included four generations. Unfortunately, we missed a couple of our loved ones - Bogie (of Bogieblog) and (my) Elder Brother were unable to come and should rest assured that each was sorely missed.
Of those family members who live in the Wichita area, all members were present and accounted for at Christmas dinner at Wonderful GrandDaughter's (WGD's) and Rachie's home* - Eldest Generation: Cop Car and Hunky Husband; Second Generation: Dudette and WichiDude; Third Generation: WGD and Rachie; and Fourth Generation: Next Generation 1 (NG1) and Next Generation 2 (NG2) were there.
During the festivities, Dudette asked if she could come to HH's and my house to "learn" to make nut roll as Dudette's grandmother (HH's mother - Beloved Mother-in-Law, FMIL) used to make it. BMIL was born in Serbia, emigrating to the USA at age 12, so she made all of the fabulous baked goods for which Serbia (being the breadbasket of Yugoslavia of those days, invested in wheat much as is Kansas) was justly famous. WGD asked to join the session.
Mind you, either of our daughters can bake/cook rings around their mother. I tend not only to be slap-dash about following recipes, but I view cooking as not being rocket science, so I roll merrily along my own way. I've yet to poison anyone; but, my cooking was never/is never/will never be a source of pride. (It isn't my thing!) Thus, I really was puzzled that Dudette thought she needed any coaching from me! However, she assured me that her last nut roll effort had ended with the nut filling spreading out all over the place (not the way she said it, but my mental picture), so we were "on". We agreed that Dudette and WGD would decide whether to have the session on New Year's Eve day or on New Year's day (it would depend upon what arrangements could be made for NG1's and NG2's care), and they would let me know. Sunday, 1/1/2017, it was.
What a joyous time had I, and I hope Dudette and WGD enjoyed it nearly as much as did I. For their reference, I'm including some photos of the process we followed.
We determined that Dudette's "problem" was with the filling rather than with the dough; so, we skipped making the dough. Fortunately, in a rare display of foresight, I had made dough the previous night and let it rise/set in the downstairs refrigerator until we were ready for it. Thus, we started with making the filling.
NUT ROLL FILLING -
a. Grind 1 pound of nuts (pecans or walnuts - we used pecans) with a medium blade in an auger-feed grinder.
b. Beat 1 egg and juice 1/2 lemon
c. Place nuts, lemon juice, and beaten egg into heavy sauce pan. Add 1/4 pound of butter and 1 cup of milk.
d. Cook over medium flame, stirring frequently, until filling is thick but still shiny.
e. Cool filling below 110 degrees F.
While filling cools, finish dough.
NUT ROLL DOUGH -
a. Remove dough from refrigerator, prepare pastry cloth and rolling pin by dusting with flour.
b. Split dough into two halves, returning one half to the refrigerator.
c. Hand-work dough to form disk-shaped mass.
d. Roll out dough to about one-half the expected final size. (While rolling dough, I rotate the dough about 45 degrees every third or fourth "roll" to keep shape somewhat regular.)
e. Cover dough with damp cloth and let rest 10-15 minutes.
f. Remove damp cloth and continue rolling out the dough to final shape. (During final rolling, I concentrate rolling mostly along an arbitrary axis to form rectangular shape.) A few of the photo files were corrupted, so you get to imagine that a photo is in this section!
Now we assemble the parts.
NUT ROLL ASSEMBLY & BAKING -
a. Place blobs (that's a technical term used by professional bakers) of filling onto dough. (I added a couple of more blobs after taking the photo.)
b. Spread the filling, thickly, to within about 1 inch of the perimeter of the dough. Wet the 1-inch margin of dough with water or milk. Roll up the dough, jellyroll style. (It is the "roll up" part of assembly that is made easier by using a pastry cloth rather than a marble slab as a work surface.)
c. Pinch the dough edges together to seal nut filling within the dough.
d. Roll the nut roll onto a parchment-covered baking sheet, seam-side-down.
e. Cover nut roll with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm location for 1.5 - 2 hours. Remove damp cloth and bake for 40 minutes in a 325-degree-F oven. Remove from oven, slide off onto a baking/cooling rack, and spread crust with butter or milk. As all of the photo files applicable to this step were corrupted, we'll skip directly to a photo of the finished product. It is very, very difficult to un-bake and un-cut bread!
* WGD, Rachie, Next Generation 1 (NG1) and Next Generation 2 (NG2) moved into their new, just-built home in the Wichita area in April, 2016; thus, they were quite excited at the prospect of being able to host family events in their own home. Who can blame them? As a money-saving ploy, WGD & Rachie had parts of the home left un-finished. They have already finished the boys' bedrooms, a few pieces of furniture (mostly in the 40-50-year-old range, having been used by Dudette when she and Bogie were young), and the spacious back deck. Thus, they already have quite a bit of sweat equity invested. Not nearly as much sweat equity as Bogie has accumulated on her home; but, Bogie got a head-start!