Hungarian Walnut Roulades

Beigli

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    two

    9 inch rolls

Appears in

Christmas is the time for beigli; the nut-filled roulades are sold in every bakery in Budapest. Like Vienna’s Faschingkrapfen, what used to be a holiday treat can now be found year-round, but they are still considered a special treat. And like our fruitcake, there are very good ones and not so good ones, and some fresh or not so fresh, so they can be the butt of Hungarian jokes. But a first-class beigli, with its firm but tender crust, crackled exterior, and moist filling, is a delight. The crumb should be tight, so the rising is carefully modulated with refrigeration (which makes sense because in the old days the weather would have been cold during beigli-making season, and finding a warm place for rising would have been harder than it is today). This recipe for walnut beigli, with dried fruit in the filling to give it extra moistness, is from one of the oldest bakeries in the world in continuous operation, Budapest’s Ruszwurm Cukraszda.

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Ingredients

Walnut Filling

  • cups coarsely chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup cake or bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons candied orange peel
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

Dough

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • ½ cup milk, heated to 105° to 115°F
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 7 tablespoons (¾ stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, chilled
  • 1 large egg, separated, yolk and white beaten separately

Method

  1. To make the filling: Process the walnuts, crumbs, raisins, prunes, candied peel, and cinnamon in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until the walnuts and fruits are very finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Bring the sugar, water, honey, and lemon zest to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Pour over the walnut mixture and stir well. Cool completely.
  2. To make the dough: Sprinkle the yeast over the milk in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve.
  3. Stir the flour, sugar, and salt in the large bowl of a heavy-duty standing mixer. Add the butter. Attach to the mixer fitted with the paddle blade. Mix on low speed until the mixture looks crumbly. Add the dissolved yeast and mix to form a soft, sticky dough that cleans the sides of the bowl. Gather into a ball and return to the bowl. Change to the dough hook and knead the dough on medium speed, adding sprinkles of flour as needed to keep it from sticking, until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the dough in half. Roll one piece of the dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 10 X 8-inch rectangle. Spread half of the filling over the dough, leaving a ½ inch border on all sides. Fold in the short sides. Starting at a long side, roll up the dough into a tight cylinder; pinch seams closed. Transfer to the baking sheet, seam down. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Brush the rolls with the beaten egg yolk. Refrigerate, uncovered, until the yolk glaze dries, about 1 hour.
  5. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and brush with the egg white. Let stand in a warm place until the egg white dries, about 45 minutes. (The rolls will barely rise.)
  6. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375°F. Pierce each roll 3 times with a fork. Bake the rolls until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely. To serve, cut into thin slices, and arrange in an overlapping pattern on a serving platter.

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