The Chistmas Blog Edition - A Beigli with almonds to tackle two challenges

Last week was a bit of a whirlwind. Well, not really in literal sense as it all seemed to go slowly here in the household. It began by havig kiddo poorly early in the week, and so he stayed home from school, but he seemed fine, actually. So fine we took to the kitchen and baked a beigli together. Then we styled and photographed it, and I have to say his styling looked far better than mine. Just check my instagram and you'll see what I mean, kid's got more talent in his little finger than I have in my whole body. It went so well I actually believed he was gonna stay home from school only one or two days, with a cold. Alas! it's never that simple, now is it?

He took a turn for the worse, running a higher temp and vomiting, so we ended up cooped up in the house the whole week. Not satisfied with having kiddo ill, I must have thought it would be a nice idea if I got ill myself. Down with the flu, the two of us, good for nothing, spending whole days on the couch binge watching X-Files, drinking piping hot teas, feeling miserable and achy and feverish and lousy with runny noses and coughs and all the discomfort the flu can bring. Rest was all we did, as rest was all the body asked for. Kiddo missed two exams at school. I could barely open my eyes.

It's very rarely that I get to indulge on doing nothing all day long but the basic. That of warming up food in the microwave oven and feeding ourselves. I was really miserable and poorly, so I took full advantage of it and indulged. No work. No running around trying to cram the world into a day. No exercising, no school runs, no writing, hardly no blogging. A bit of instagraming, in the dark of my living room, in between episodes of Fox Mulder being awesome and Dana Scully being amazing. No writing, either, and for a few days I didn't even worry about it. I just wanted to rest. I still do, but a bit less now. I feel better and life's settling back to it's ordinary rhythm. It's the last school week before Christmas Hols, and kiddo has exams to do.

I want to get back to my routines, I long to sit down and write, move along with my WIP. Now that I'm finished with The Preternaturals Series, having published all four volumes already, I can immerse myself fully into this new work. I long for it, yes. But I'm still promoting and advertising my previous works, of course. Trying to get them out there, to get sales up a bit. Actually, today is Unnatural's bookversary. Exactly one year ago I published this novel, Book I in this series. For that reason, I am having a promotional sale that will last all day. Anyone who wants to start reading this series, can get the first novel at a discount price during today. And there's even cake to celebrate, at least here at the blog!

But today also marks my participation in Marta's Ingredient of the Month, which this December happens to be almonds, and Lia's and Susana's Sweet World Challenge, because I was really intrigued by this beigli thing. First and foremost because it looked like a recipe that was easy enough for me to achieve - I'm lazy AF when it comes to baking, ok? But mostly because this sweet bread roll is a Hungarian Christmas tradition. And Hungary for me spells vampires. Go figure. I even have the Vampire society of my series place their headquarters in Hungary. Much more than Romania, Hungary has infused my imagination with scenes of vampiric decadence set in the late 1700's, with lavish balls populated by vampires and mortals alike. I have a very specific scene in my head of a group of vampires hurriedly running along the cobled dark streets of Budapest, crossing bridges from one side of the city to the other, carriages on their wake, a frisson of danger and blood. You get the point. Hungary is vampires to me, and so this cake had to be baked.

If you want to read about the history of this treat, please refer to Susana's post in Basta Cheio, where you'll learn there are two possible versions of filling for the roll. Of course that, being who I am, I disregarded both. For starters I wanted to do a mix of both versions: the walnut filling and the poppy seed filling combined into this decadent thing that would ooze warmth and comfort. But then there was the allure of Marta's challenge, I so very rarely cook with almonds I wanted to do something crazy. So I did. Out went the walnuts, enter the almonds. My filling is NOTHING like the original. My beigli is far from the traditional Hungarian one, but it was a bit of a hit here, especially with my husband. I used the almonds and the poppy seeds, and even went with a bit of quince paste - when I read orange marmalade was to be spread on the dough before the filling was placed, I knew I wanted to do that with quince paste. In the end, it's an unnecessary step. Makes it far too sweet for my liking. Omit. I am baking this for Christmas this year and am surely omiting the paste. I'm also using walnuts because I'll be out of almonds by then!

So, if you want to try your hand at this, here's the recipe:

For the pastry:
  • 125 gr flour
  • 60 gr butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk - keep the white for the glaze
  • 3 saffron threads
  • 40 ml milk
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar - muscovado
  • 10 gr fresh yeast
  • 1 pinch salt

For the filling:
  • 50 ml milk
  • 60 gr sugar
  • 1 apple
  • 120 gr almonds and poppy seeds
  • zest of a mandarin
  • cinnamon
 Turn on the oven at 200º, line a baking tray with baking parchement and set aside. On a bowl, place the four, the butter and the egg yolk. Bring the milk into a boil with the saffron threads and allow to infuse as it cools down until lukewarm. Once it's at body temperature, add the fresh yeast to it and dilute it. Now pour this over the flour and using your hands, rub it all together until everything is properly incorporated. Roll into a ball and wrap in cling film, allowing it to rest in the fridge for two hours. While you wait, you can get on with the filling. On a food processor, blitz the almonds and the apple together. Heat up the milk on a small pan and once it's piping hot add the poppy seeds to it, stirring to combine. N.w add the apple and almond mix, the cinnamon and the mandarin zest. Allow to cool. Once the two hours have passed, bring the dough out of the fridge and on a floured surface roll it into a rectangular shape. If you want to, you can spread a layer of orange marmalde or quicne paste on it, making sure you leave a couple of centimeters around the perimeter that are free of filling so you can fold and roll the dough. Over the jam, spread the whole of the filling and fold the edges of clean dough over it. Now roll it as you would a torte, on the longer side. Make sure you tuck in the edges so no filling comes out while it's baking. Beat the egg white and brush it over the roll. Place it on the baking tray and bake it for 15 minutes at 200º, then lower to 190º and bake for 15 minutes more. Allow to cool properly once it's done, serve with a warm tea.


  1. Oh linda, isso é que foi uma semana difícil! Já é mau o suficiente quando os nossos miúdos estão doentes.. quando acabamos por ficar nós mesmos também , é dose!
    Espero que já estejam bem melhor os dois..
    Este mês infelizmente acho que não vou conseguir participar no SW... com grande pena porque fiquei muito curiosa com este recheio de sementes de papoila... e agora ao ver este teu recheio então! ainda me parece mais fabuloso.
    Este Beigli vai ficar a "matar" na nossa mesa de dezembro ;)

    1. O puto já está pronto para as festas, eu é que nem por isso lol. Cada x que caio á cama, livra, custa para passar!!

  2. Bem, diferente e original mas super apetitoso, tenho de dizer.
    Acho que ficou lindo, com o exterior perfeito e um recheio húmido e bem curioso. Olha, por mim provava já!
    Adorei que tivesses participado. Alguns temas só aparentam ser mais complicados, mas acredita que nem sempre é assim. Pelo que, poderiamos contar contigo muitas mais vezes, estou certa! :)

    Bjinhos e Excelente 2018!

    1. Confesso que nem é pela complicação dos temas que participo menos ou mais. Não sou fã de doces, e cá em casa quem é tem mesmo de restringir o seu consumo, por isso fazemos pouca doçaria, e bolos também já fazemos raramente. Para participar neste tipo de desafios tem de ser qualquer coisa que me chame mesmo, que eu olhe e pense epah quero mesmo comer isto - nem é tanto o querer fazer, é o querer comer, porque isto aqui é casa de pobre mesmo e qualquer coisa que cozinhe tem de ser com a garantia que não vai ficar aí abandonado porque ninguém come, principalmente quando são coisas que possam levar ingredientes mais caros ou em grande quantidade, se bem que eu corto sempre as receitas para metade. Depois é também a falta de tempo que tenho, e que me corta um bocado as asas quando são coisas um bocado mais elaboradas e que requeiram que me dedique um nadinha mais, eu até penso ah e tal vou fazer isto, mas vou adiando pq hoje não dá, amanhã tenho mm de fazer isto ou aquilo, e os dias vão passando e quando dou pr mim o prazo terminou!! Mas adoro ver as participações alheias e ler sobre os doces, culturalmente tenho sempre imensa curiosidade em saber pq é q se criou tal doce, quem o inventou, a sua história, etc. Este beigli foi uma bela surpresa, mesmo.


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