Traditional fillings for the Christmas beigli are walnut and poppy seeds. My beigli pastry makes six good size rolls. Since walnut beigli is more popular, the following two recipes are perfect to fill 4 walnut and 2 poppy seed rolls. 


Walnut filling is very easy to make. Walnuts can be finely ground even with the most primitive nut grinder. In a food processor all it takes is pressing the pulse button a couple of times and you have finely ground walnuts. This amount will be sufficient to fill 4 good sized beiglis.
6 cups walnuts, shelled
1/4 cup milk
4 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup raisins
3 Tbsp lemon freshly grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp rum

  • Finely grind the walnut meats and place in a bowl.
  • Heat the milk to the boiling point, but do not boil.
  • Drip by drip start adding the scalding hot milk until the walnuts are barely moist!
  • Add as little milk as possible. The filling that is too wet will spill out during baking. Discard the unused milk.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the walnuts and stir to combine.


Poppy seeds are known as a flavouring/decorative item sold in tiny packets or in spice jars. With the connection to opium, the use of poppy seeds hasn’t really caught on in North America. This makes as much sense as avoiding barley because of whiskey, but people are not convinced so easily. Be that it may, we can still find large quantities of poppy seeds in urban centers or in towns with North Middle Eastern, Eastern European or Kosher supermarkets. In Canada the Superstore used to have it just before Christmas, but I haven't seen it in recent years. Nowadays the Bulk Barn is the best source for poppy seeds. Although the neighborhood German deli carries canned poppy seed filling, the one time I used it was a bit of a letdown. If I couldn't get a hold of poppy seeds I would just as soon use walnuts.

In Hungarian cuisine, poppy seeds are finely ground and unless you have access to an old poppy seed grinder or an industrial strength seed grinder, grinding poppy seeds can be a huge undertaking. In previous years I would painstakingly grind up 200 grams of poppy seeds in two tablespoon batches with a small electric coffee grinder for the Christmas beigli... Then I discovered heat treating!  Heat treating softens the seeds and making it possible to cook the filling. The following recipe fills 2 good sized beiglis.

200g poppy seeds*
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

* Make sure the poppy seeds are fresh at the time of purchase. Poppy seeds go rancid rather quickly and if not used right of way store them in the freezer in an airtight container.


  • Preheat the skillet at a LOW MEDIUM. Do not to start out with high heat. Even if you turn down the heat before you add the seeds, the pan will be still too hot. Poppy seeds burn easily and turn bitter on high heat. Give it time, don’t hurry the process.
  • While the pan heats up, line the bottom of the baking pans with parchment paper.
  • Spray the parchment paper and the sides of the pans with cooking spray and set them aside.
  • When the pan is thoroughly heated on low medium, add the poppy seeds, gently stirring with a heat proof plastic spatula. [gently, because the seeds can scrape the coating of the pan]
  • Keep stirring until the seeds begin to steam a little.
  • Continue to stir for 1-2 minutes longer and then remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Transfer the poppy seeds to a large chilled bowl to cool.
  • The seeds must cool down to room temperature before starting on the filling.

The next step is COOKING THE FILLING.
  • Place all ingredients in a saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and cool before using.

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!