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Hungarian Beigli – Christmas poppy seed and walnut roll cake

Hungarian Beigli, poppy seed and walnut Christmas roll cake

Christmas tables would not be complete without poppy seed or walnut beigli. It is often called walnut roll or poppy seed roll, both fillings are traditional and most of the time served together.
These days bakers make beiglis with new fillings, such as chesnuts, cherries, prunes or chocolate.

There is an old belief among Hungarians that poppy seeds, just like lentils, bring good luck to the house, so when consumed for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, people believed it would bring them prosperity in the new year, also, walnuts keep trouble away.

You can make your beigli on your own or buy it from your favorite bakery. The best to pre-order to make sure your Christmas table will not miss this fantastic cake.

How to make Hungarian beigli?

The dough is made of flour, sugar, egg, milk, butter, lard and yeast. The dough can be flavored with lemon or orange zest, I always falvor with lemon zest, it makes the dough so much tastier.

The poppy seed filling contains ground poppy seeds, raisins, milk, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla flavoring. In Hungary we prefer adding vanilla sugar, but you can use extarct too.

For the walnut filling I always add some apricot jam, which is one of the most popular jams used in Hungarian cuisine, is substituted for sugar. The walnut roll filling contains raisins, milk, lemon and orange zest, finely ground and coarsly chopped walnuts. This filling is also spiced with cinnamon and vanilla.

The filling is spread over the dough, which is then rolled up lenghtwise, ensuring that the rolls remain firm.

How to give the beigli surface that shiny, marbled look?

I always get the quieston on how to give the surface that shiny, marbled look? What is the secret? The secret is the egg wash, separate the egg, set the egg whites aside. Gently whisk the egg yolk and brush the top of the rolls. Let them sit until yolk dries, it will take about half an hour or so.

After the egg yolk has dried, brush on the egg white, let it dry in a cool place, if possible not in the fridge.You can leave them overnight and bake the next day. if you follow these instructions, the top of your beigli should look perfect.

How to make powdered sugar in just 30 seconds?

I teach you how to make powdered sugar at home! It is so simple with the sugar of your choice, once you learn this, no need to buy it any more. In addition, since you are making yours fresh, you can skip the corn starch when you make it at home.

You just need a spice grinder, and you can prinkle the freshest powdered sugar in your dessert. My Mom gave me this grinder, it is a popular brand in Hungary but not available in North America. The Secura Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder at Amazon is easily available for anyone, you can even grind your own coffee and different spices.

How to grind poppy seeds?

When I prepare a poppy seeds filling, I always use my coffee grinder, just like when I make powdered sugar. It takes smaller amounts of poppy seeds and grinds them into powder pretty quickly. Add sugar to the poppy seeds, it helps keep the poppy seed from sticking to the inner walls. You need 1 cup of powder for the filling anyway, so just grind the poppy seeds and sugar together.

Another option is that you soak the poppy seeds in water for about 30 minutes, then you can use your food processor to grind them.

Gift online cooking class, Hungarian beigli, walnut and poppy seed roll cake

The Chef & The Dish brings me straight into your kitchen for an in-depth and fun Hungarian cooking class.

I teamed up with “THE CHEF & THE DISH” an online kitchen to kitchen cooking experience. We bring together kitchens across the world for live, private cooking classes via Skype. Master the best, most authentic Hungarian Beigli, delicious walnut and poppy seed roll cakes. Book an online, 100% interactive cooking class with me, no flights required. The Cooking Class gift certificates are perfect for creating unique and memorable experiences. Gift a Hungarian Beigli baking class to your loved ones!

Hungarian Beigli, poppy seed and walnut Christmas roll cake

Hungarian Beigli - Christmas poppy seed and walnut roll cake

Hungarian Beigli is a traditional walnut and poppy seed roll which is served in many Hungarian families at Christmas as a special treat. The Christmas meal table would be incomplete without these rolls.
5 from 3 votes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Hungarian
Servings 6 people


For the dough

  • 17.6 ounces all purpose flour 500 grams
  • 3.5 ounces unsalted butter 100 grams
  • 3.5 ounces pork lard 100 grams
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 50 grams
  • 2 eggs
  • 0.5 ounces fresh yeast 15 grams
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest