Patience is a Virtue…


You either have it or you don’t.

And if you are going to be a baker and a pastry maker, you need patience. I realize many a person does not possess this trait. For people are always apologizing for making me wait. I always give them a big smile and say, “I used to teach Junior High, I have the patience of a saint.” And they smile back and know that I am not mad at them. Most days I have patience.
When I made this nut roll I had patience. I made the dough. I let it rise. I punched it down, rolled it out and stuffed it with pecan filling. Then let it rise again. And then after the almost 3 hours were up, into the oven it went. Thirty-five minutes later out of the oven it comes. No problem. Since I got the idea to make the bread at 11:00 at night I did not finish until almost 3am(remember I am the night owl), obviously there was no light out so I knew that I would not be taking photos of this bread until I awoke the next morning(afternoon). So I chose to wait on glazing the bread, so it would not get soggy. I over slept and quickly realized that the beloved Sun Break(a term I never heard of until I moved to the Seattle area…it simply is a break from all the rain…except they last about 15 minutes it seems) would soon be over. So I jumped out of bed and ran down stairs to quickly make the glaze. I looked for my sifter and could not find it. I looked out the window at the looming rain clouds rolling in and thought “screw it”, I just threw together the powder sugar and milk and slopped it onto the bread. And for that I was severely punished. Sigh.
Big, giant clumps of non-sifted powder sugar staring back at me on my bread. Mocking me if you will. Did the Sun Break pass? Yes, though I did get a few photos in, BUT it didn’t matter to me because I just kept seeing those horrible little specks of sugar glaring at me. Boo. So was it worth it to rush? Not so much. I think this proves that patience is most definitely needed for a quality product and I am going to buy another sifter so that I have two now and wont have to go looking for just the one.

Poteca Nut Roll

1 package( ¼  ounce) active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water(110-115F)
¾ cup warm milk(110-115F)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup shortening
1 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 to 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

4 cups ground or finely chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
milk(amount to be determined on consistency…I used about ¼ cup)

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk , sugar, shortening, salt, egg. And 1 ½ cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough(mine took the whole 3 ½ cups).
Turn onto a floured surface, knead until smooth  and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Combine nuts, brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add enough milk until mixture is spreading consistency.
Punch dough down. Roll into a 30-inch by 20-inch rectangle. Spread filling to within 1-inch of edges. Roll up from one long side; pinch seams and ends to seal.
Place on a greased baking sheet; shape into a tight spiral. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. If desired, brush with a glaze of powder sugar and milk(but what ever you do…sift the sugar!)

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home Magazine Best Holiday Recipes 2004


  1. It is amazing what flaws we can pick out of our own food. I would gladly take a slice of that this morning with my coffee. It looks absolutely delicious!!!

  2. Oh girl, I hear you on the lack of a sifter thing. My husband thought my wire mesh sifter was “just another one of those drainer things” and used it to hold raw shrimp as he cleaned them. Yea. Have you tried cleaning shrimp shell pieces out of tightly woven wire mesh? It doesn’t work….so he now gets to buy me a new sifter :-)

  3. Despite your lamenting those TINY specks of powdered sugar (hardly giant at all!), I think it looks quite pretty, especially with all that luscious nutty filling – mm mm! But I’d say the extra sifter is a good idea, I’ve got 2 and it comes in handy when you’ve lost one or have to sift various ingredients :)

  4. I totally understand the push-pull between having patience and then suddenly having none. But don’t be so hard on yourself — this looks DELICIOUS!

  5. You might see them, but I think the rest of us will be drawn to the sexy shot of the cut-open nut roll with swirls of pecan and a pool of icing cutting through it. Lovely shot, and nicely captured during the sun break.

  6. Thi cake is the same we call in the northen east part of Italy “putizza” (the name is even similar”) or “gubana” and is generally served at the end of lunch during Christmas or Easter. I was going to bake it as well the putizza .. we might it compare the two versions

  7. oh my what a delectable nut roll. Patience is a must for bakers…I have learned that in more ways than one! Although if you had not pointed out the specks of powdered sugar I wouldn’t have noticed it. We are are own worst critique!

  8. that looks so amazing!

  9. simply amazing. this looks SOOO delicious. beautiful in fact… i don’t think i would have noticed the powdered sugar! :-)

  10. I like that your solution is to have 2 sifters on hand from now on:) I know specs of sugar would irk me too, but to everyone else (including me) that is one gorgeous pastry!

  11. If you hadn’t said anything about the glaze, I wouldn’t have even noticed- Looks perfectly delicious to me!

  12. Wow baking so late. You indeed is a night owl.
    Bread sure looks super delicious. I woudn’t mind waking up to it.

  13. It sounds like you are a perfectionist, like I am! All I can say is that my stomach is growling now and really wants to eat some of that for breakfast!!!

  14. It looks gorgeous! And, also, delicious! :)

  15. You are far more patient than I. Looks delicious!

  16. Well…I never sift my powdered sugar! Guess I’m not quite a perfectionist! The inside of this is amazing…I’d make it but my brother wouldn’t eat it…it has nuts. Personally, I think HE’S nuts!

  17. OMG! This looks sooo good, I didn’t even notice the sugar spots until you mentioned them. It’s just yummy looking!

  18. That looks like one pretty darn fine piece of temptation to me……….stop criticizing it or I might just reach into this computer thang and take it for myself, now I would appreciate it as it deserves to be appreciated….. :) Hugs and good Christmas wishes to you and your family Peabody, thanks for a great year with you and your blog! May 2008 bring lots of exciting blog events from your home to mine!!

  19. Yes, I am definitely one who does NOT have patience – not one ounce of it. I have to commend you, Peabody, for having patience – you truly have taught me that, as a baker, I need it. And hey, that Poteca Nut Roll turned out beautifully!! Just goes to show how rewarding having patience is :0)

  20. To me this looks absolutely perfect! But I am one who has no patience for baking, measuring, letting dough rise, so I am completely in awe just looking at your photos.

  21. I’m with Gretchen Noelle at the top…I’d happily take this with my morning coffee! I loved reading your baker’s point of view though.

  22. Oh, but that is a beautiful nut roll! How did it taste??

  23. Despite the sugar lumps, which I would never have noticed, your nut rolls look lovely. My Hungarian mothe-in-law makes these every Christmas.

  24. Yep…patience in baking…I hear you on that one.Baking karma is a b…ch! The roll looks wonderful and I would have been happy with a slice of it,clumps or not!!

  25. Wow! Slightly lumpy icing or not, that looks utterly divine. I’m now going to check my cupboards for pecans, this looks too yummy to miss. As the saying goes “good things come to those who wait”

  26. I would lick my plate clean, lumpy icing and all. :) And I totally know what you mean about sunbreaks! I saw one on my way to work and cherished those short minutes. Seattle sure makes taking pics so darn hard!

  27. We are our own worst critics aren’t we.

    I would be more than happy to eat your mistakes, although I don’t see a single thing wrong that nut roll. Wow, that would be awesome in the morning.

  28. I would have no problem overlooking the sugar lumps if I could have a slice of that delicious nut roll! Of course, since I’m not a patient person, all of my glazed baked goods have sugar lumps, so I’m used to them.

  29. I have bursts of patience mixed with many more bursts of impatience… in my new place I don’t worry about trying to get sun for picture, but that’s because it will never happen so there’s no point, I’ve given up. If you feel like making another nut roll and sending it my way, I’m sure I could be patient enough to wait for it.

  30. That looks so good with the layers of cake and nuts!

  31. I have 4 sifters of various sizes and I would gladly trade you one for the nut roll! And my mom can make WAY lumpier icing than that.

  32. That looks soooo good. It’s midnight right now and I totally want a slice! The clumps are hardly noticeable, chin up!

  33. That looks amazing. Don’t be so hard on yourself! I can understand the frustration though.

  34. Well it still looks beautiful and delicious!

  35. powdered sugar specks or not, this looks amazing!!! i don’t like pecans and i want to try that! the filling looks so good :)

  36. wowowow, this looks amazing. the glaze looks just perfect, even with the specs!

  37. Dear Lord. These pictures are amazing. In fact, I must be sure my mom and sister aren’t reading over my shoulder right now, b/c if they saw this giant icing-covered confection, they’d want me to make THIS instead of the Swedish Bullar I’m making for Christmas morning.
    Okay I have to stop looking at this now or else I’ll change my mind too….yikes!

  38. Oh, now I KNOW why I can’t bake, I have ZERO patience. :)

    This looks AMAZING.

    Merry Christmas!

  39. I can’t believe how incredible this looks… seriously. you may see globs of sugar, but all I see is the drools dripping onto my keyboard. I MUST make this one, and soon.

    P.S. you’re not the only one that starts baking at 11 :)

  40. I’m not very good at waiting!
    This looks like it would be worth the wait though.

  41. OH MAN – that looks SENSATIONAL.

  42. Peabody, I am in the process of making this delcious treat, and although I’m up to my elbows in dough and gooey pecan filling, I am enjoying it so much! I LOVE your blog, recipes, and definitely your photos!

  43. Would you like to give out Carolyn’s nut roll recipe?

  44. @Lori- who is Carolyn?

  45. You mentioned that you already had Carolyn’s nut roll recipe that you liked. I guess it was a recipe you used before this one.

  46. I made this recipe and the filling, after I raised it when it was in the roll, came out. What was my problem? I put a bit of water, under the pan in the oven for raising, but that should not have caused this problem. I was very upset because I wanted this for a really nice party and could not serve it. I ate it myself and did enjoy it, but I know it would have been wonderful with ALL the filling inside. Had to throw out at least half the filling because it burned.

  47. Peabody says:

    @Barb- Having not seen it I’m not totally sure what went wrong. Perhaps you rolled the dough too thin or your ends were not sealed enough?

  48. I think it looks terrific…who looks that closely at the icing anyway?

  49. Quick FYI : If you add the milk to the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, you don’t need to sift. Just add your vanilla extract, then a little milk, stirring like crazy, add a little more milk…etc. I never sift the sugar. I’m trying your recipe for Christmas brunch this year. It looks great!

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