The Bejgli is a traditional element of Hungarian Christmas. It became popular in the country during the 19th century. The fillings are originally walnut or poppy seed, but nowadays people like to fill them with a sweet chestnut filling or pickled and dried fruits as well. It has a Polish equivalent called Makowiec.


During my childhood always my grandma prepared the best Bejgli rolls ever. They've baked a big batch, enough for the whole family and I remember that the filling was so moist and rich.


According to the folklore, the custom to eat walnut on Christmas Eve helps to ward off curses and poppy seed brings wealth and happiness to the house and help young women to find their future husbands quickly. Whatever your reason is to eat them, let's bake these heavenly rolls!

Ingredients


Crust

  • 550 g flour
  • 200 g butter room temperature
  • 60 g icing sugar
  • 10 g fresh yeast
  • 200 ml milk
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • 1 large pinch of salt


Walnut filling

  • 250 g walnut ground
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 100 g gingerbread cookies ground
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam
  • 50 g raisins optional
  • 150 ml milk
  • 2 large pinch cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest


Poppyseed filling

  • 250 g poppy seed finely ground
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam
  • 50 g raisins optional (you can soak them in rum as well)
  • 100 ml milk
  • 2 large pinch cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest

Instructions


Crust and assembly

  1. Put the soft butter, sifted flour, icing sugar, crushed fresh yeast and slightly warm milk into a mixing bowl.
  2. Knead the dough by hand to get a nice, smooth texture.
  3. Divide it to get four portions.
  4. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and rest it for 30 minutes in a cold place.
  5. Roll one of the 4 dough portions to get a thin, large rectangular shape.
  6. Spread the filling* on the surface of the dough evenly, fold in the dough along the short edges then roll it up along the longer edge. Repeat it on the rest of the 3 dough portions.
  7. Place the rolls very close to each other in a baking tray. Put some butter pieces in-between the rolls, which will help you to separate them after baking.
  8. Give an egg wash to the rolls.
  9. Let them rest overnight at a cold place.
  10. The next day, give them a second egg wash, poke their surface with a fork.
  11. Bake the rolls in preheated oven at 180 °C for about 30-40 minutes. Stop the baking after 30 minutes if the surface seems too dark brown because we don't want to dry them out too much.
  12. Let them cool down completely before you start carving the first slices. If you wrap the rolls in a double layer of cling film, it will stay moist at least for a week (I didn't test longer because we ate it all). It could be a perfect edible gift too.


Walnut filling *

  1. Let's grind the walnut and gingerbread cookies. For me, it perfectly works in a food processor.
  2. Mix the milk and sugar and bring it to the boiling point.
  3. Add the walnut, gingerbread, raisins, cinnamon, lemon zest, apricot jam. Remove the pot from the heat and stir the mixture to get a smooth texture.
  4. It needs to be cold when you start filling in. If it's too thick, you can add a few tbsps of milk.


Poppyseed filling *

  1. Mix the milk, honey and sugar and bring it to the boiling point.
  2. Add the ground poppy seed and cook it for a minute.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cinnamon, apricot jam, and lemon zest, then stir it to get a smooth mixture.
  4. It needs to be cold when you start filling in. If it's too thick, you can add a few tbsps of milk.


You can use the walnut and poppy seed fillings for these Crème fraîche biscuits too!

Hungarian Christmas Bakes - Photo by © Reka Csulak

Hungarian Christmas Bakes - Photo by © Reka Csulak

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