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Diós Bejgli: Hungarian Walnut Roll

Bejgli is a traditional Hungarian rolled pastry filled with a dense, sweet filling made from walnuts (diós) or poppy seeds (mákos). The pastry uses a sweet yeast dough that’s rolled just like you would for a cinnamon roll, but bejgli is baked as one long cylinder. 

Bejgli, or beigli, is popular in most of Central Europe and can be filled with a poppy seed, walnut, or chestnut filling. In Hungary, traditionally two rolls are served together as a pair, one poppy seed and one walnut, mákos és diós.

For this recipe, I stuck with the walnut version. The sweet walnut filling is flavored with cinnamon and zest and interspersed with raisins and extra walnuts.

walnut bejgli on a wooden platter with white plates in the background
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several slices of walnut bejgli
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Ingredients:

MetricCups
DOUGH
300g plain flour
60g confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 teaspoons salt

80ml whole milk, lukewarm
1 large egg, room temperature
115g unsalted butter, softened

FILLING
80ml whole milk
150g granulated sugar

200g ground walnuts*
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons apricot or orange jam
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

EGG WASH
1 large egg, white and yolk separated
DOUGH
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup whole milk, lukewarm
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

FILLING
1/3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups ground walnuts*
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons apricot or orange jam
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

EGG WASH
1 large egg, white and yolk separated

*Note:
To grind walnuts in a food processor, pulse until finely ground, pausing every once in a while to scrape the sides and stir. Make sure the food processor and blade are completely dry before grinding the walnuts.

For the Dough

1. Combine the dry ingredients:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

the ingredients for bejgli dough in a bowl
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2. Add the wet ingredients:

Add the milk, egg, and butter, and mix until the dough comes together into a ball.

3. Knead the dough:

Turn out the dough onto a work surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. The dough will feel tacky, but shouldn’t stick to your counter.

turning out the bejgli dough onto a work surface
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4. Chill the dough:

Wrap the dough in plastic and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for one hour.

dough for bejgli
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Walnut Filling

While the dough chills, make the walnut filling.

bowl of ground walnuts
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1. Bring milk and sugar to a simmer:

Bring the milk and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan.

2. Add the rest of the filling ingredients:

Take the pan off the heat and add the ground walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, zest, jam, and chopped walnuts. Mix well to combine.

3. Cool:

Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

walnut filling in a bowl, lemons, lemon zest, an orange, and a jar of cinnamon
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Assemble the Bejgli 

1. Roll out the dough:

Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a rectangle about 10 by 15 inches (25 by 38cm) with the short side nearest you.

bejgli dough rolled out to a rectangle and a rolling pin
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2. Fill the bejgli:

Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch (2.5cm) gap at the top.

3. Roll:

Tightly roll up the dough, starting from the short size and place the seam side down. Transfer the roll to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Brush with egg yolk:

Use a pastry brush to coat the outside of the bejgli with the egg yolk.

brushing egg yolk onto the bejgli
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5. Rise:

Cover the bejgli with loosely with plastic and let it rise at room temperature for about 60 minutes.

6. Brush with egg white:

Use a pastry brush to coat the outside of the bejgli with the egg white. Chill the bejgli, uncovered, for 30 minutes. This allows the egg white to dry which will help create the crackly crust.

brushing egg white onto the bejgli
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7. Preheat the oven:

While the bejgli chills, preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).

8. Pierce the bejgli:

Use a skewer or a fork to pierce the top and sides of the bejgli, pushing the skewer deep into the dough. This creates steam vents so the bejgli keeps it shape and doesn’t tear during baking.

piercing the bejgli with a skewer
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9. Bake:

Bake the bejgli until the crust is golden brown and crackled, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Bejgli will stored wrapped air-tight at room temperature for about 3 days.

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