In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the milk, sugar, shortening, eggs, orange zest, cardamom, salt and 3-1/2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in raisins, walnuts and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Roll each portion into a 12x10-in. rectangle.
Cut in half to form two 12x5-in. rectangles. Cut each into twelve 5x1-in. strips; roll strips into 6-in. ropes.
To shape rolls, place two ropes on a greased baking sheet to form an X. Coil each end toward the center. Press a raisin into the center of each coil. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
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