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Shared by Eva Moreimi

Hungarian Wasp Nest (Darázsfészek)

Yield: 14 servingsTime: 3 H 20 min

Hungarian Wasp Nest (Darázsfészek)

Yield: 14 servingsTime: 3 H 20 min

Family Journey

HungaryHessisch Lichtenau, GermanyPlešivec, Czechoslovakia (present-day Slovakia)
Minneapolis, Minnesota

During the Holocaust, Ilona Kellner, known as Ica, was imprisoned at Auschwitz and Hessisch Lichtenau, a munitions factory that was a subcamp of Buchenwald. Like all prisoners, she faced deep hunger, but at night, the women in her barracks would talk about recipes with one another. The act of resistance sustained them. 

From August 1944 to the spring of 1945 when Ica was liberated, she wrote down more than 600 recipes, often noting the name of the person who shared the recipe with her. This one came from a woman named Piri who was killed by an SS officer only days before Ica and the surviving women were liberated.

Ica kept her legacy alive by making these buns for her daughter Eva Moreimi, who continues the tradition, baking them every year for Shavuot. The technique used in this recipe is similar to those for cinnamon rolls: a yeasted dough is rolled out into a large rectangle, spread with a buttery filling, rolled up like a jelly-roll, sliced into buns, and baked in one pan. Darázsfészek is made with a walnut filling, but Eva notes it can be made without nuts by simply omitting them and swapping in a splash of vanilla extract. 

This recipe was shared by Eva Moreimi. Read more about her family in "The Woman Who Hid 600 Recipes from SS Officers." 

This recipe comes from a collaboration between Momentum and the Jewish Food Society. Find more recipes from this collection at "Recipes from the Momentum Community", created with the help of Rebecca Firsker. 

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (6 ounces, 1½ sticks), softened, divided
  • 1 (¼-ounce) envelope dry active yeast
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk, lukewarm, divided
  • 3½ cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for rolling out
  • ¾ cup plus ½ tsp granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) ground walnuts or walnut meal
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Baking ProjectsDairy

Preparation

  • Step 1

    Grease a 10-inch round Bundt or springform pan with 2 tablespoons butter.

  • Step 2

    Make the yeast mixture: Whisk together the yeast and ¾ cup milk in a small bowl until dissolved. Stir in 1 teaspoon flour and ½ teaspoon sugar. Cover the bowl and let the yeast activate for 5 to 10 minutes, until foamy air bubbles appear on the surface.

  • Step 3

    Make the dough: Mix the remaining 3 ½ cups flour, egg yolks, vanilla, remaining ¾ cup milk and the rested yeast mixture in a large bowl until it forms a very soft, light dough. Cover and let it proof for 30 to 45 minutes, until the dough has risen slightly (it will not double in size.)

  • Step 4

    Mix the remaining 10 tablespoons softened butter and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until smooth. In a small bowl, mix together the walnuts and cinnamon. Turn out the tough onto a well-floured surface (it will be very sticky). Roll the dough into approximately a 12- by 18-inch, 1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Spread the butter mixture over the surface of the dough with a spatula, then sprinkle over the walnut mixture.

  • Step 5

    Working from the longer edge, tightly roll the dough into a spiral. Cut into 1½-inch-thick slices. Place each roll into the cake pan, spiral-side up. Repeat with remaining slices of dough in a single layer in the cake pan. If necessary, start a second layer on top of the first. Cover and let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until the rolls have doubled in size.

  • Step 6

    Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

  • Step 7

    Bake until golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes (rolls will bake longer in a Bundt than a springform pan). Remove from the oven and immediately flip the pan over onto a serving plate. Serve immediately, cutting or breaking apart while the rolls are still warm.