Hungarian Beigli – Christmas poppy seed and walnut 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.

Hungarian beigli, Christmas walnut and poppy seed roll

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 1 vote
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
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
  • 1 pinch of salt

For the walnut filling

  • 2 cups walnuts finely ground, 200 grams
  • 1 handful walnuts coarsly chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk whole
  • 1 cup powdered sugar 100 grams
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp raisins optional
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 coffeespoon lemon zest
  • 1 cofeespoon orange zest

For the poppy seed filling

  • 8.5 ounces