Beigli

Several legends circulate about the beigli’s origin, but it’s sure that it appeared in Hungary in the second half of the 19th century and since then there is no Christmas without this pastry. Its name comes from the German word beugen (=bend in English). The beigli’s predecessor was probably the Silesian filled challach that was already known in the 16th century. Although it’s more likely that it emerged from the famous Bratislava horseshoe. The first Bratislava horseshoes filled with ground walnuts and poppy seeds were baked in 1559 and  became very popular abroad, too.

The two kinds of filling fit in the symbolism of Christmas perfectly because poppy seeds symbolize wealth and fertility, while walnuts protect against bewitching. Today there are many different fillings like chestnuts, marzipan, and even apple, coconut and hazelnut fillings can be found. It could be a nightmare to bake beigli if you use a wrong recipe, as it can split easily and become dry. If you keep some important rules, the result will be a marbly, golden brown pastry that is full of filling and doesn’t crumble.

Ingredients:

For the dough (for 4 rolls):

  • 500 g (~4 cups) flour
  • 250 g (~1 cup) cold butter, cubed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 70 g (~1/3 cup) castor sugar
  • 20 g fresh yeast (2 tsp dry yeast)
  • 100 ml (~6 1/2 tbsp) lukewarm milk
  • pinch of salt

For the poppy seed filling (for 2 rolls):

  • 300 g (~2 1/4 cups) ground poppy seeds
  • 200 g (~1 cup) sugar
  • 200 ml (~3/4 cup) milk
  • 60 g (~1/3 cup) semolina
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 50 g (~1/3 cup) raisin soaked in water or quince paste cut into small pieces

For the walnut filling (for 2 rolls):

  • 300 g (~3 1/2 cups) ground walnuts
  • 150 g (~3/4 cup) castor sugar
  • 150 ml (~2/3 cup) milk
  • 60 g (~1/2 cup) semolina
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 50 g (~1/3 cup) raisin soaked in water or quince paste cut into small pieces

For the egg wash:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites

First prepare the 2 fillings one after the other because they must be cooled before you fill the dough. Bring the milk with the sugar to the boil, then add the other ingredients. Cook and stir until poppy seeds and walnut soak up the liquid. Set aside and let them cool.

Dissolve yeast with a little sugar in lukewarm milk.

For the dough rub the butter with the flour in a bowl until the large butter pieces vanish and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Finally add castor sugar, salt, egg yolks and activated yeast and knead it until you get a soft, smooth, but not wet dough. If you prepare the rolls later, put the dough in the fridge to prevent butter from melting.

Divide the dough into 4 equal balls. Roll the first ball out to a rectangular shape on a floured pastry board. Take the half of the poppy seed filling and spread it on the dough while leaving approx. 1-2 cm empty edges on each side.

Beigli_1

Fold in the edges, then roll up the dough.

Beigli_2

Beigli_3

Place it in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Now prepare the second poppy seed roll in the same way.

Repeat the above mentioned procedure in case of the 2 walnut rolls. Place them into another baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Separate the eggs. Set the egg whites aside.

Gently whisk the egg yolks by using a fork and smear the top of the 4 rolls. Put them in a cool place for at least 5 hours to let the egg yolk dry and let the dough rise.

After the egg yolk has dried, gently whisk the egg whites and smear the top of the rolls.

Prick the rolls on the top and on the sides by using a skewer in order to let off steam during baking.

Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius degrees and bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes.

Let it cool completely before served.

Beigli_4

Beigli_5

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed