A Traditional Holiday Pastry

Traditional advent pastry

If you are looking for another traditional holiday pastry to replace the bland store bought fruitcake, try this recipe. The beigli is a classic Hungarian Christmas treat. It's wonderful swirls of walnut and poppy seed will bring delight to any  kitchen counter.    

RECIPE
Beigli

Prep Time  30 minutes

Cook Time  40 minutes

Ready in 3 hours 30 minutes

Makes 4 rolls

Ingredients

  • 4 ⅓ cups white flour

  • 1 cup butter

  • ½ cup lard

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons fresh yeast 

  • 4 ½ cups of warm milk

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 cup ground walnuts

  • 1 cup ground poppy seed

  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon rum extract (or real rum)

  • 2 teaspoon honey

Preparation

For dough:

  1. Combine flour, butter, lard, ¼ cup of sugar, and salt in one bowl

  2. Mix. In another bowl mix together ½ cup of milk, yeast and 1 egg until smooth.

  3. Pour the liquids into the solids, and knead until you get a smooth dough. Do not over knead! 

  4. Divide it into 4 equal parts once the dough is smooth. Roll them up into balls, cover with plastic wrap and let them rest in the fridge for no more than 2 hours.

For filling:

  1. Mix the ground walnuts with ¼ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a saucepan. 

  2. Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon of rum extract, and 1 teaspoon of honey. 

  3. Stir in no more than 2 cups of milk to gradually complete a thick paste. As you do, heat the mixture on low. Don’t make the filling runny, or it will leak out of the dough later. It should be smooth. Set aside to cool. Repeat this process with the ground poppy seed. 

  4. Then divide your walnut filling into two portions and your poppy seed filling into two portions.

Combine Filling and Dough:

  1. Roll. Now that the dough has been well rested in the fridge, use a rolling pin to create an even rectangle of dough (the size of your cookie sheet you will be using to bake in the oven). 

  2. Spread the filling uniformly on the rectangle of dough, leaving a quarter of an inch free around the edges.

  3. Fold the edges over the filling and press down on all four sides.

  4. Roll up the dough along the longer side.

  5. Poke holes on the tops of the rolls with a fork to let steam escape. This will help to keep the rolls from splitting along the top.

  6. Spread egg yolk on the top of the beigli with a brush. Let it dry for about 10 minutes. Then spread egg white on top of the beigli. Let it dry for about 10 minutes. (The yolk adds a nice golden color, the egg white adds shine. And the time you wait for the two coats to dry allows the dough to rise some more.)

  7. Bake. Put the rolls on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Put them in a preheated oven at 200 °C for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 190 °C, and bake until golden and the beigli are firm to the touch, which is approximately an additional 15 minutes. Depending on the thickness of your beigli, you may have to bake an additional 10 minutes.

  8. Once they are done, wait for them to cool before slicing and serving.

Tips

You can add to this traditional holiday pastry by sprinkling powdered sugar over the sliced beigli.


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