We’re at that Bread Baking Babes bread time of the month once again. This month, Elle chose Gigi’s Hungarian Almond Roll for us to make. It is involves rolling out dough, spreading a cooked nut filling on it, rolling it up like a jam roll and baking it. The Hungarian Almond Roll is much like the Povitica but this one has an almond and raisin filling. My Hungarian Style Almond Roll is a bit different from the original.
I did a bit of reading up and discovered that the Hungarians traditionally make a roll much like this for Christmas. They call it Beigli or Bejgli but the filling is usually walnuts (Diós Beigli) or poppy seeds (Mákos Beigli or Makosh). Traditionally, both rolls are served together. Nut filled rolls are made across Central Europe in various forms. The German poppy seed version is called Mohn Kuchen and the Polish one is Makowiec.
The origin of such nut or seed filled rolls is not clear. It is thought they were probably created to make a special treat with left over bread dough. The Germans and Polish rolls have a thicker layer of filling and also thicker bread/ yeasted cake layers. Hungarians prefer thinner layers of filling and dough.
The recipe for Gigi’s Hungarian Almond Roll comes from Sunset Magazine, Dec 2001. According to the author, “In December, the doorbell rings often and a little refreshment to offer guests is in order. My friend Gigi showed me how to make this lovely, spiraled nut roll, from a recipe her mother brought from Hungary. Chilled airtight, it stays fresh up to a week and makes a delectable alternative to cookies.”
My Hungarian Style Almond Roll is no longer the same as Gigi’s. I changed a few things while keeping to the spirit of the recipe. We have a Malayalam saying in Kerala – “Ulllathu kondu Onam”. Onam is a festival that is very well celebrated in Kerala. The saying translates as “celebrate Onam with what you have”. It’s an apt philosophy for any time but more so now. So I left out the eggs in the recipe because I didn’t have any. Also, I’m back to baking without eggs for the present and haven’t bought any in almost a year.
I added some desiccated coconut to make up volume as I was short of the required 1 cup of almonds. A little bit of lemon juice went into the mix for added flavour and also to cut through the sugar. I did add a bit of salt to both the dough and filling. The idea of cutting out little decorative holes in the crust came from this video. I couldn’t understand a word of the instructions but the demonstration is easy to follow. It isn’t traditional at all but I thought it would be nice to decorate the top with flaked almonds and a sprinkling of sugar.
Suffice to say that this roll is still delicious. This Almond Roll is delicious and a slice with coffee or tea at breakfast or the evening is a real treat. I wouldn’t wait till December or Christmas to bake this.
Hungarian Style Almond Roll
For the Almond Filling :
- 3/4 cup unblanched almonds
- 1/3 cup desiccated coconut lightly toasted
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Dough :
- 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup lukewarm milk
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 75 gm butter cut into small pieces
For the Topping :
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1/8 cup flaked almonds
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- Make the almond filling first so it has time to cool down. You can make this the day before and refrigerate it if you prefer. Whirl the unblanched almonds in a food processor to fine meal.
- Put this in heavy bottomed frying pan with the toasted coconut, raisins, sugar, milk, and grated lemon zest. Stir over medium to high heat until mixture is thick enough to hold a clean trail for a few seconds when you draw a spoon across pan bottom. Remove the pan from heat and stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Let cool at least 30 minutes.Your filling should not be wet or it will make your roll soggy. It should be on the dry side but just moist enough to be able to spread it.
- As I often mention, I always proof my dry yeast. Mix together the yeast, 1 tsp of the sugar in the lukewarm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till frothy.
- You can knead the dough by hand or machine. Put the flour, the sugar, salt and the butter pieces in a processor bowl. Run till the butter is mixed well with flour. If doing by hand, rub the butter into the flour so it looks crumbly. Add the proofed yeast and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough that isn’t sticky. Add a little water or flour, as required, to reach this consistency of dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat well and cover it loosely. Let it rise till it's puffy enough to hold an impression when pressed with a finger. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half. The dough won't double in volume.
- Deflate the dough and shape into a smooth ball. Place it a floured pastry cloth or clean, smooth-textured dish towel. Pat dough flat; with a rolling pin, roll into a 14-inch to 15-inch square. You can do this on a piece of parchment or a well floured counter like I did. Just make sure the dough doesn’t stick to the counter.
- Spread or evenly dot the almond filling over dough to within 1-inch of edges. Make a thin fold the two edges on the left and right sides. This will keep the filling in while you roll the dough. Lift cloth from the side closest to you and roll dough away from you to the other edge, into a compact loaf. The edge should seal. Gently lift loaf and lay, seam side down, on a buttered 12-inch x 17-inch baking sheet. Cut small rounds on the top using a large icing nozzle or poke holes with a knife or skewer.
- Cover loaf loosely and let rest until dough is slightly puffy, about 45 minutes. Brush the loaf with milk and scatter the flaked almonds on the top. Sprinkle the sugar over this.
- Bake loaf on the center rack at 170C (340F)325C for 45 minutes or until rich golden Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour. Cut the loaf cross-wise into 1/4-inch thick slices and serve at room temperature.
The Bread Baking Babes are –