Once every year we start baking walnut and poppy seed rolls, and every year we try to use all the tricks we can to make sure that the dough and filling ratio is right and the outside stays smooth and doesn’t crack.
Baking walnut and poppy seed rolls is not difficult, but many people prefer to buy them ready-made so that they don’t have to fiddle around, and they look nice when served to guests. Although my grandmother used to say that the perfect walnut and poppy seed rolls have so much filling that you prefer to eat them with a spoon, it’s better if they are not only delicious but also look good on the festive table.
Opinions vary on the ratio of dough to filling, but generally speaking, a rich filling and thin pastry duo is always a winner. That’s our opinion too, and if you bake this recipe, you will definitely not hear any complaints.
For sure, the end result depends on the quality of the ingredients. The eggs should preferably come from a free-range farm, the butter should be high in fat, and you should choose finely ground flour. Although it’s not particularly difficult to make the rolls, don’t start at the last minute, so that the dough can rest. When assembling the rolls, however, try to work quickly so that the fat doesn’t melt from the heat of your hands, kneading quickly but thoroughly, with firm strokes.
When the walnut and poppy seed rolls are served, the first thing you notice is whether they are smooth and even surfaced. Of course, sometimes, despite the best efforts and care, a roll will be cracked, which doesn’t make it taste any worse, but it doesn’t look nice on a festive table. First of all, you should make sure that the dough is of an even thickness when you roll it out. Secondly, the dough-to-filling ratio is important, but the most important thing is how the filling is placed in the dough. We have asked an expert’s opinion about this.
Andrea Simon, pastry chef at Trattoria di Sophia, also confirmed that the dough should not be kneaded for a long time, and that resting it for the right amount of time is key. She says that the filling should not be either too soft or too sweet, and that a 1:1 ratio of filling to dough is optimal. In pastry making, the ratio of dough to filling is 270 g to 270 g. Besides, the pastry should not be rolled too tightly, it should be stabbed with a fork after spreading so the steam can escape, and the dough should not be allowed to rise for time longer than necessary before baking.
When baking, make sure that the temperature in the oven is not too high. If you bake poppy seed rolls, you have to be even more careful about the proportions, because if the filling has too much sugar, it can make the dough wet and it can crack even more easily. It is the safest solution to follow the original, traditional recipes and modify them only slightly if necessary.
Your rolls won’t crack either
To keep the dough from cracking, you also need to pay attention to the consistency and temperature of the filling. Nobody wants to serve dry rolls to their guests, but if the filling is too moist, the pastry will get soggy, and if it’s too dry, it will crack. Also, make sure you don’t put too much fat and sugar in the filling, as this can also make the pastry soggy and cause it to crack.
When you roll up and spread the dough, prick it with a long thin needle or a toothpick to allow steam to escape during baking, because if it stays in, it can also cause cracking. When rolling up, make sure that the rolls are neither too loose nor too tight.