In my mind, the nut roll is a close cousin to the Pittsburgh cookie table. Growing up, my great aunts who made cookies for the cookie table (and also brought boxes of ziplock bags to every wedding) were also the ones who made the nut roll and the poppy seed roll.
In recent years, one family member was so determined to bring the nut roll to a holiday celebration, it is rumored that he/she paid double to some church ladies in a parking lot to get them to dig into their stash of nut roll.
This weekend, the Pittsburgh Folk Festival is hosting a homemade nut roll competition at the Carpatho-Rusyn Society in Munhall.
The Pittsburgh Folk Festival returns with a nutty idea: A first-ever nut roll throwdown https://t.co/7KtltFA3kR via @PittsburghPG
— Gretchen McKay (@gtmckay) October 16, 2019
Homemade Nut Roll Competition details
The event is officially called: Rollin’ Around the ‘Burgh with Nutz N’at and the rules are serious and charming.
What are the contest rules?
- Entries must include a copy of the recipe with the official entry form. Entries without a written recipe will NOT be accepted.
- The recipe should be clearly written or typed on an 8 1⁄2 x 11 sheet of paper, and must list all ingredients, quantities and the preparation instructions.
- Entries MUST also include an original personal story, of not more than 2,000 characters. For example, you could tell us about your recipe’s inspiration, a favorite memory behind the recipe, a secret ingredient, the story of how the recipe came to be, how your recipe brings people together, or how your recipe became a family tradition. The story must not contain any inappropriate content or objectionable material as determined by the contest committee.
- On the day of contest between 10 and 11 a.m., contestants must submit TWO 14-inch nut rolls or an amount sufficient to equal 24 individual portions. Food must be wrapped in clear plastic food wrap and placed on a disposable plate or thin board. Clearly state on a 3 x 5 index card: Contestant’s name, Name of food item, Category and Division entered
- Items requiring refrigeration must be clearly labeled.
Wait, I’m not from Pittsburgh, what is a nut roll?
Nut rolls can often be found on cookie tables at weddings and served as a desert around the holidays.
A nut roll is a pastry consisting of a sweet yeast dough (usually using milk) that is rolled out very thin, spread with a nut paste made from ground nuts and a sweetener like honey, then rolled up into a log shape. This ‘log’ is either left long and straight or is often bent into a horseshoe shape, egg washed, baked, and then sliced crosswise. Nut rolls resemble a jelly roll (Swiss roll) but usually with more layers of dough and filling, and resemble strudels but with fewer and less delicate dough layers. Fillings commonly have as their main ingredient ground walnuts or poppy seeds.
Nut rolls can be found in the United States and in Central European cuisines. In the United States, “nut roll” is a more or less generic name for pastries of this type, no matter where they originate. Nut rolls are known also by many specific regional names, including: orechovník in Slovak; makowiec in Polish; potica, povitica, gibanica, orahnjača/orehnjača in Slovenian, Croatian and Serbian (walnut variant, makovnjača for variant with poppy seed, in Croatia can also be made with carob); kalács and bejgli in Hungarian; and pastiç (pastiche) or nokul in Turkish.
Know before you go: Homemade Nut Roll Competition
Rollin’ Around the ‘Burgh with Nutz N’at
- Date: Saturday, October 26, 2019
- Time: 11 am, if you are planning to enter a nut roll into the competition, you must drop off your rolls between 10 am and 11 am.
- Location: Carpatho-Rusyn Society, 915 Dixon Street, Munhall, PA.
- Facebook event
The event features bake sales, craft sales, and demonstrations. There will be something for nut roll makers and nut roll lovers as well.
Photo credit: Gary Cepko