When I was growing up, my mother made Hungarian Walnut Rolls (Dios Beigli) every year around Christmas. When I first moved to Atlanta, she would bake, pack and ship a few rolls to me but this year the torch was passed and I made the walnut rolls by myself.
George Lang’s The Cuisine of Hungary references the desert as “Pozsonyi Roulade Filled with Poppyseeds” or Poszonyi mákos tekercs and says that the walnut rolls are just a variation. Another cookbook on my shelf, Culinaria Hungary by h.f.ullman simply calls the rolls “beigels” and refers to diós és mákos beigli together as they are to be made and served at the same time.
I think this just depends on the tradition. For us, my mom just made the walnut rolls as I have a feeling that we as kids voiced our distaste for poppyseed rolls. This isn’t a difficult dessert to make, but it does require time and patience as you need to wait for the rolls to rise.
Hungarian Walnut Rolls (Diós Beigli)
This recipie yields about four large rolls. I halved the ingredients to make four smaller and shorter rolls which is just enough for two people. The flaky crust and naturally sweet filling makes for a delicious dessert, but I mostly eat the pastry in the morning with a cup of coffee as it’s not overwhelmingly sugary.
Preparing the Kitchen
- Parchment paper
- A large mixing bowl
- A small mixing bowl
- A food processor
- A spatula
- A rolling pin
For the Dough
- 4 cups flour
- 4 large sticks of butter / 1 lb.
- 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 package of dry yeast
- 3 egg yolks
- 2-4 tbsp sour cream
- 1 egg, well beaten
- In a small bowl, mix the package of dry yeast and 1/2 cup of milk together. Set aside to rise.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the four cups of flour and then cut the pound of butter into the flour.
- Add the tablespoon of sugar and mix the dough together until it forms crumbs.
- Add the three egg yolks, sour cream and the yeast mixture from step #1 and knead together in the bowl until a ball forms.
- On a lightly floured countertop, knead the mixture for about a minute until it is less sticky and more firm.
- Roll the dough into the shape of a rolling pin (long and thick) and cover with a clean dish towel to rise.
- While the dough is rising for about 30 minutes, you can make the walnut filling in a food processor.
For the Filling
- 1 cup sugar
- 3-4 tbsp white wine or water
- 1 lb ground walnuts
- 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
- 1/2 package of dried apricots (about 25 apricots)
- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- (optional) 4 tbsp applesauce
- Combine all of the ingredients for the filling together in a food processor.
- The filling should be sticky, but loose enough to spread over dough. If it is too sticky or dry, add some applesauce.
Making the Rolls
- On a lightly floured countertop, cut the dough into four equal pieces.
- Roll each piece of dough into as much of a rectangle shape as you can manage. Do not stretch too thin. If your rectangle looks more like an oval (like mine did) that is just fine.
- Spread 1/4th of the walnut filling onto the dough, leaving a little bit of room on the sides.
- Roll the dough into a tube. I rolled mine up like a burrito so there wasn’t any extra dough on the ends.
- Repeat until you have made four rolls.
- Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with the beaten egg for a glaze.
- Pierce each of the rolls with a fork to let steam escape during cooking
- Bake the rolls at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
These are great right out of the oven after you’ve let them cool for a moment, but they’re also delicious heated up in the microwave or just served cold.