Orahnjača and makovnjača

Orahnjača and makovnjača

Orehnjača or orahnjača and makovnjača (or walnut and poppyseed rolls, respectively) are yeast dough desserts traditionally made for holidays and other festive occasions in order to treat guests to a fragrant and tasty dessert made from soft dough and a rich filling. As the name suggests, orehnjača is made from walnuts (orah in Croatian), while the makovnjača pastry is filled with poppy (or mak). Other than this essential ingredient that sets these two pastries apart, the rest of the ingredients in the filling are the same: sugar, cinnamon and milk. Ground walnuts or poppy seeds are mixed with sugar and cinnamon and then covered with boiling milk and stirred well. The resulting mixture needs to be thick enough to spread over the yeast dough.

 

The same type of dough is used for both pastries, which makes them easier to prepare, and although no one makes them quite like grandma, orehnjača and makovnjača are so simple that even complete beginners can’t go wrong. To prepare the dough, sugar, butter, grated lemon peel and egg yolks need to be mixed until a little foam appears. Flour mixed with salt and half of the milk is then gradually poured into the mix, while the other half of the milk is heated and yeast powder is melted in it. The melted yeast is mixed in with the ingredients in the other bowl, after which the dough is kneaded and left to rise for an hour in a warm place.

 

After it has risen, the dough is kneaded and then divided into two portions. Each portion is rolled out on a floured base until it becomes thin, and is then covered with the chosen filling up to a centimetre from the edges of the dough. The empty edges are folded over the filling on three sides, and then wrapped into a roll, starting from the lower folded edge. The roll is then placed in a deep baking tray coated with butter and left in a warm place to rise some more. Orehnjača and makovnjača are baked for about an hour and served as slices covered with powdered sugar.