Of Birmingham and Hungarian nut rolls

                      The cookbook I treasure, now that my Mom is gone, is a dog-eared, folksy collection of Hungarian and some American recipes. It was collated together by the St. Stephen's Mother Club in Birmingham of East Toledo, Ohio. Birmingham is not an actual place you can google map; it's an old historic district that began in the 1890's in East Toledo. The boundaries started at the Maumee river and grew as more immigrants came to work in the smokey, industrial factories that provided jobs. It was coined "Birmingham" because of it's resemblance to the English industrial city in the West Midlands that was a center of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.  By 1900, Toledo's Birmingham had many factories,  a large Hungarian population and sprouted many churches to hold the numerous religious beliefs among their workers who mostly Greek Catholic, Reformed, Catholic and  few Baptists. St. Stephen's on Genesee Street was a Catholic church. Today, Birmingham still hosts a Hungarian festival every August.

     My Mom did not bake. Her mother did, and then skipped a generation to her daughter, who does roll out this Hungarian nut bread every year with her daughter !

     HUNGARIAN NUT ROLL

  1. 1 envelope or cake yeast, 1/4 Cup warm milk, pinch of sugar
  2. Dissolve above and let raise in a warm place
  3. 1/2 lb. Butter, 4 egg yolks , 1 Cup half and half , 4 cups unsifted flour,1 tsp. salt, 3 tablesp. of sugar
  4. Sift flour, salt and sugar;beat yolks, add cream.Melt butter and combine all ingredients of yeast mixture  flour mixture, eggs and cream .
  5. Work together until mixture is well combined. Divide into 3 equal balls and set in fridge for several hours.
  6. Roll each ball as thin ( but not too thin ) as pie crust. Spread with nut filling.

NUT FILLING FOR THE NUT ROLL

1 1/2 lbs. walnuts, ground
4 eggs whites , beaten stiff
1 cup sugar
grated rind of lemon
  • After spreading the dough with filling, roll like you would jelly roll, not too tight. Place three rolls side by side in a pan about 13 1/2 inches long, 9 1/2 inches wide. Set in warm place. Let rise about two hours, brush with beaten egg and bake 40 - 40 45 minutes at 350 degrees. NOTE : My daughter & I never did the egg whites or lemon rind - we either made the filling like a simple boiled sugar syrup with water and sugar and ground walnuts, also have done it with a teeny bit of milk heated with the nuts, sugar  & cinnamon to make a paste.          


note: This article /recipe first appeared 2011-12-12 .