Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Springtime always makes me think of my grandmother. Grandma Nev had the greenest thumb you would ever meet. She had a veritable forest of potted plants surrounding her house, odd things growing up and down the driveway, and seas of flowers in the backyard. And the most angry I ever remember seeing her was when I pulled up the Clematis vines while pretending to build a fort under her pine tree.

She passed away several years ago, on a cold December day. But December wasn't her time of year - it was spring - and so I especially miss her on sunny days like today.

Since Grandma Nev has been on my mind, I invited my extended family to come over this past weekend for a day of Orahnjaca making. Orahnjaca is a recipe from Old Country, a Croatian nut roll. It's what I think of most when I remember my grandmother's cooking. (Let's just say she wasn't as good at cooking as she was at gardening.) But Orahnjaca is something that she always made well.

This recipe always takes longer than I expect. If you make it, have plenty of snacks and loved ones around to make the waiting fun. And don't stress out about following my directions exactly - my grandmother was not one to follow a recipe, so I think this is pretty fool-proof.


Dough Ingredients:
5 Tbsp. warm milk
7 Tbsp. sugar
2 packages yeast
1 c. butter, melted (2 sticks)
5 eggs
2 tsp. salt
5 c. flour

Combine milk and sugar in large bowl. Mix by hand. Add yeast and mix again. In a separate bowl, combine butter and eggs. Add to yeast/milk/sugar mixture. Add salt and mix again. Little by little, add flour. Work with your hands until the dough doesn't stick to the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in bulk. This will take about three hours.
Divide dough in half. Work a few times with your hands and roll into a 10X15 inch rectangle on a floured board. Spread with half of nut mixture and roll length-wise. Transfer to ungreased baking sheet. Cover with tea towel and let rise again, for about an hour. When Orahnjaca is ready to bake, the dough will spring back when you touch it with your finger.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool, then drizzle with icing.

Nut filling:
1 lb nuts (about 2 c) (We use pecan meal, but the traditional recipe calls for walnuts.)
1 c milk
1 c dark brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Add all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat until mixture is uniform and not clumpy.

Zest from one lemon
2 sticks butter, melted
1 c. powdered sugar
milk (optional)

In a small saucepan, add lemon to melted butter. Add powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. If the icing is too thick to be able to drizzle, add a few teaspoons of milk.


Lisa hosts Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays over at Blessed with Grace. Visit her for more yummy recipes!


Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

YUM!!! That looks so good. I am really glad to know we are "neighbors".

Martha said...

sheesh, i'm jealous.... make me drool already... I've been craving apple cake lately, but orahnjaca would be tasty too :D

Alexandra said...


Shanilie said...

Beautiful gals!! That looks sooo delicious right now!

Anonymous said...

looks good. :) my mum likes to add some rum to the filling. it's delish.

Ryan and Kristy Peterson said...

I keep forgetting to tell you that this is almost exactl what my Grandma used to make. I have made it every Christmas since we have been married. It's fun to share traditions with friends. And yes, it does take some love to make it too, but it sure does taste good when it is all done.

Shanilie said...

That sounds delicious! She sure is enjoying it

Marissa said...

ok, i've never heard of this but it looks delish and i will try this recipe out.


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