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Looking for nut rolls (aka povitica or potica)...know any eastern european bakeries?

  • j

I'm trying to find a particular pastry I had growing up at Easter. According to my mother, my Czech great-grandmother used to make them. At some point after she passed away, my family began ordering them each year from a woman my mother thinks might be Hungarian. The woman sold nut, poppy and prune rolls through a local church. Sadly, the woman has since retired and our freezer stash is depleted.

We're tried several other nut rolls, mostly from Polish bakeries, but they are all very bready - the rolls I grew up on had a lighter, somewhat pastry-like consistency to the dough. They were very thinly rolled with a filling of a sweet ground nut paste.

As far as I can tell from googling, the recipe we're used to is more similar to the Slovak and Croatian varieties than the Polish.

Anyone know where I might find these in the Boston area?

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  1. you can buy poppy rolls- large and small in all Russian grocerey stores in Brighton and Brookline and also in Baza in Newton. They also sell small nut cookie rolls that may be similar to what you are looking for.

    30 Tower Road, Newton, MA 02464

    1. I think I know what you're describing. I haven't found them in Boston, but I have a recipe (from my Polish in-laws) that sounds like what you are looking for. they are surprisingly easy to make, just a little time-consuming. if you're interested I'll make a post on the home cooking board.

      4 Replies
      1. re: gimlis1mum

        Please do post. There is a lost pastry of my NYC youth called Bolles. I tried making something like it with a basic cinnamon roll yeast dough and it was just wrong. What you are describing sounds much closer. I would LOVE the recipe.

        1. re: StriperGuy


          I put a note in the recipe about how my in-laws let the loaves rise before baking, although the original recipe says NOT to do this. I wonder if that's a Polish variation...I've had the poppy seed rolls from Baltic Deli in Dorchester, and they are yummy but definately have more bread-like dough than these homemade ones. Next time I make them I will try skipping the rise and see if they are more pastry-like.

          Note to the OP: you can buy jars of Polish plum butter that might work as a prune filling in this recipe. It's pretty thick stuff - we've used it as a filling for paczki.

          Baltic Deli & Cafe
          632 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

          1. re: gimlis1mum

            AWESOME. Thanks. I think the version I had was NOT allowed to rise. Will give it a whirl.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Heh - belatedly, it occurs to me that I could have kept the recipe to myself and started a little cottage industry...


      2. Karl's Sausage Kitchen in Saugus might have it for the holiday--it is potica, and it is Hungarian. It is a sweet yeast dough around either a nut or ground poppy seed filling.

        Karl's Sausage Kitchen
        142 Broadway, Saugus, MA 01906

        1 Reply
        1. re: cgj

          Actually, if it's being called potica it is Slovenian. In Hungarian it's kalacs or beigli. Povitica is the Croatian name, although also used in Slovenian.

          I've mail-ordered some very nice povitica from Strawberry Hill Povitica Company in Kansas: http://www.povitica.com/

        2. I know them as hungarian rolls - but I haven't found any here in Boston. I love this question as they are one of my favorite treats! When visiting relatives in PA I always buy some rolls for the road and the freezer. The place we go to (Kiffle Kitchen) does do mailorder if you are interested! http://www.kifflekitchen.com/

          1. It's called povatica if you are Croatian (but the Polish/Czech side of my family made it too and also called it this.). It's nowhere to be found on the East Coast and especially not in NYC where I live or Boston where I have lived in the past.

            My Croatian mother, aunts, and grandmother who made/make grew up in a very ethnic (mostly Balkan immigrants) in Kansas City, Kansas but I've never seen it anywhere else. If anyone tells you the recipe is simple and easy to follow-they've never made povatica. The women in my family have been making it for years and it takes several hours to prepare and real artistry to make the dough so thin.

            I know a woman from the neighborhood who used to sell them but she passed away last year or else I'd give her name. They were the only ones who came close to my the ones baked my the women in my family.

            1. The nut roll can be found at http://www.vermontcountrystore.com
              I make my own. I have a really good recipe the only problem I have is that some times it brakes open and the filing oozes out a little during backing. Can any one tell me how to keep it from doing that?

              1 Reply
              1. re: GeorgeTx

                Same thing happens to me, especially along the bottom edge near the baking sheet. It doesn't bother me so I never tried to prevent it. Sorry I don't have an answer for you!

              2. Heard a raving review about this place from a Hungarian friend: