Chec Cu Nucă (Romanian Walnut Panettone)

Romanian Walnut Panettone (Chec Cu Nucă)

Romanian Walnut Panettone (Chec Cu Nucă)

This traditional Romanian sweet bread studded with rum-laced candied walnuts, makes a delicious dessert, breakfast bread, or teatime snack.Landon Nordeman

This traditional Romanian sweet bread studded with rum-laced candied walnuts, makes a delicious dessert, breakfast bread, or teatime snack. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue with Alexander Lobrano's article Eternal Terrain.

Chec Cu Nucă (Romanian Walnut Panettone)
This traditional Romanian sweet bread studded with rum-laced candied walnuts, makes a delicious dessert, breakfast bread, or teatime snack.
Yield: serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • ¾ cups plus ½ tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 ¼ oz. packages active dry yeast
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. rum
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Combine 1 cup milk, heated to 115°, with ½ tsp. sugar, nutmeg, yeast, and vanilla seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Whisk in ¼ cup sugar and egg until smooth; add flour and salt, and mix until dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high, and knead for 4 minutes. While mixer is running, slowly add butter to dough, 1 tbsp. at a time, and mix until smooth; continue kneading for 4 minutes more. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, bring remaining milk, sugar, walnuts, and rum to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring often, until liquid is reduced and mixture is brown and has thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in juice; let walnut mixture cool completely. Punch down dough, and add walnut mixture to dough; return to mixer fitted with the hook attachment, and mix on low speed until walnut mixture is evenly incorporated into the dough. Transfer dough to a greased 8″ x 5 12″ x 2″ loaf pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap; let sit until slightly risen, about 45 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 350°. Uncover loaf, and bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 190°, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Let cool completely.