These little nut rolls are a lot of work, but are absolutely delicious. I found this recipe a few years ago and they exactly duplicated my husband’s Hungarian mother’s kiefles. Unfortunately, the old world kiefles recipe went with her when she passed, so I hunted for one that seemed to include the same ingredients. I hit the jackpot with this recipe. It does take two days to make these delightful treasures, and I usually only make them at Christmas. But on a snowy, icy, cold day in the middle of April, this will keep me busy.
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 package (1/4 ounce) dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
4 egg whites
½ to ¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups finely ground walnuts
Proof the yeast by placing the water in a small bowl and sprinkle with the yeast and sugar. Set aside until the mixture swells and becomes bubbly, about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile in a large bowl, blend together the flour and butter with a pastry blender.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add the sour cream and blend thoroughly. To the flour mixture, add the egg mixture alternately with the yeast mixture. Handle gently and shape into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
To prepare the filling, in a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar a little bit at a time until all the sugar is incorporated. Add the vanilla and fold in the nuts. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from the refrigerator and divide it into 24 balls (the size of large golf balls). Roll each ball into a circle about 8 inches in diameter (you can use an 8-inch pie pan as a guide). Cut each circle into 8 pie-shaped pieces. Place about 1 ½ teaspoons of the filling at the wide end of each piece. Roll toward the center to encase the filling and form a crescent shape that is about two inches long.
Place the kiefles on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Makes approximately 8 dozen. I have found over the years that it is easier to divide the dough into 20-21 balls that are a little larger and with a little more of the nut mixture. Although they make less than 8 dozen, they are still wonderful. In addition, if I run out of the nut mixture, I use the Solo brand apricot filling to make the last batches of the kiefles and dust the top with powdered sugar. My mom loves the apricot kiefles better than the nut kiefles. My husband loves the nut kiefles better than the apricot. So, I make both.