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. Here is my recipe:

Hungaraian Christmas wanut and poppy seed rolled cake, beigli


For the dough:

  • 500 grams (17,6 ounces) of flour
  • 100 grams (3,5 ounces) of butter
  • 100 grams (3,5 ounces) of lard
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 50 grams of (1,8 ounces) of powdered sugar
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) of milk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 15 grams (0,5 ounces) of compressed yeast
  • 1 sachet of vanilla flavored sugar (1 flat tablespoon)
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Pinch of salt

For the walnut filling:

  • 200 grams (7 ounces) of finely ground walnuts
  • 1 handful of coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) of milk
  • 100 grams (3,5 ounces)) of powdered sugar
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of raisins – optional
  • 2 tablespoons of apricot jam
  • 1 coffee spoon of lemon zest
  • 1 coffee spoon of orange zest

For the poppyseed filling:

  • 250 grams (8,8 ounces) of ground poppy seeds
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) of milk
  • 100 grams (3,5 ounces) of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of raisins – optional
  • 1 coffee spoon of lemon zest


  • 1 egg for eggwash



  1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in the lukewarm milk, then add the yeast, wait a few minutes until blooms.
  2. Mix the flour with the butter and lard by hand. The mixture will be quite crumbly.
  3. Add 2 whole eggs, the powdered sugar, pinch of salt, vanilla sugar, lemon zest and the yeast/milk mixture. Knead thoroughly. Add more flour if necessary.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 balls, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, you have time to make the walnut and poppy seed filling.
  6. Walnut filling: In a pan heat the milk with the sugar, bring it to a boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the ground and coarsely chopped walnuts, the raisins, the lemon and orange zest, the cinnamon and the apricot jam. Mix well and let it cool completely.
  7. Poppy seed filling: In a pan heat the milk with the sugar, bring it to a boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the ground poppy seeds, the raisins and the lemon zest. Mix well and let it cool completely.
  8. Heat the oven to 180°C (355°F). Line a pan with parchment paper.
  9. On a floured surface roll out each piece of the dough into a rectangle measuring about 12×14 inches (30×35 cm).
  10. Spread the walnut or poppy seed filling on the dough while leaving approx. 1/2 inch empty edges on each side, and roll up lengthwise. Make sure it is not too tight and not too losse. Carefully transfer the rolls onto the baking sheet.
  11. Egg wash: Separate the egg, set the egg whites aside. Gently whisk the egg yolk and brush the top of the 4 rolls. Let them sit in the 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.
  12. Prick on the top with a skewer, making sure it goes all the way through. It allows vapor to escape, that could cause the pastry to split.
  13. Bake the rolls for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Keep the rolls in a cool and dry place and slice them only before serving.