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Bejgli with poppy seeds – an iconic Hungarian Christmas dessert

Bejgli with poppy seeds – an iconic Hungarian Christmas dessert

If we had to choose one dessert that makes all Hungarians think of Christmas, it would be the bejgli. This marvelous dessert roll, traditionally made with walnut or poppy seed filling cannot be missing from any dinner table during the winter holidays.

Vígvarjú restaurant helped us again, and now we can show you the ropes so you can make your own bejgli, that is not only an all time favourite for Hungarians, but for foreign tourists as well.

bejgli - dough bejgli - filling


With your fingers, crush the yeast into the cold milk (yes, cold milk!) and mix in the egg yolk. Mix the flour with the sugar and the salt in a separate bowl. Mix the finely diced cold butter or fat in the flour mixture. It is important to work fast so the butter or fat does not melt. Then add this to the milk mixture and stir it quickly, but thoroughly. Cut the ready dough into two equal parts, roll them in foil and let them rest in the fridge for an hour.

While the dough rests, prepare the filling.

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Warm up the milk with the sugar and the salt on the stove. When the salt and sugar are fully dissolved and the milk is boiling, add the grated walnuts or poppy seeds and cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes. Leave to cool. Only add the grated lemon peel when the mixture is at room temperature, this way, the lemon flavour will be more intense in the filling.

Preheat the oven to 185oC. Cut the rested dough into 4 parts and roll into rectangles. Spread the walnut filling on it with a pancake turner (if possible, there should be no filling roughly 1 cm around the edges). Fold the two ends of the dough and roll it, but not too tight. Place the prepared rolls on a baking tray. Leave some space between them as they will grow. Then beat the whole egg and spread thoroughly on the rolls. Put in the fridge to let it dry (for roughly 15-18 minutes), then spread on the egg white left from the dough. Prick the rolls with a skewer or a toothpick so that the pointy end of the skewer (or toothpick) reaches down to at least the middle of the roll. Do not prick with a fork because the roll will definitely burst open.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Once ready, leave to cool on the baking tray. Only move once cold.

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