the appetizer:

A World of Cake: 150 Recipes for Sweet Traditions from Cultures Near and Far by Krystina Castella, includes excerpts and recipes like Let's Talk Cake: From Fruitcakes to Funnel Cakes; Upside-Down Pumpkin-Plantain Cake; Potica (Nut Roll); and Kolache.


Potica (Nut Roll)

Makes 7 cakes (serves 6 to 8)

Potica (Nut Roll)
Front to Back: walnut, strawberry-cream cheese,
cream cheese-pine nut, and almond-peach potica



The potica embodies Slovenian food at its finest. This iconic old-world cake is made by stretching the dough so thin that you can almost see through it; it may become so stretched that it takes up the entire table. With a walnut filling, it is rolled into a long log, placed in a tube pan, and baked at low heat for a long time to create a breadlike pastry. The walnuts take on a lightly toasted flavor.

Potica Nut Filling Glaze

To Make the Dough

Stir together the yeast, milk, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and set aside for 10 minutes, until foamy. Mix the sour cream, egg yolks, and evaporated milk in a bowl; set aside. In a separate medium bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter with the remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture, alternating with the sour cream mixture. Stir in the yeast mixture and set the dough aside.

To Make the Filling

Combine the butter, milk, honey, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside, until cool enough to touch.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into the milk mixture, then stir in the walnuts, lemon zest, and vanilla.

To Assemble

Butter and flour a 1O-inch tube pan. Roll out the dough to about 22 inches in length and 1/4 inch or less in thickness. (The thinner your dough, the more impressive the design.) Spread the filling over the dough, and carefully roll up the cake. If the dough tears, patch the hole with dough from the edges. Place the dough in the prepared pan. Cover and set in a warm spot to rise for 3 to 4 hours, until it has doubled in volume.

When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Brush the potica with egg whites. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in its pan. Slice thinly to serve.

To Serve

Potica is cut into thin slices, with several slices per serving. When made for an Easter brunch it's served with a slice of ham, with cheese melted on its top, or on the side of bacon and eggs. On other occasions it may be spread with butter or honey or sprinkled with cinnamon. When served as dessert potica is topped with ice cream, vanilla custard, whipped cream, or fresh fruit.



Almond-Peach Potica

In the filling, replace the ground walnuts with ground almonds. Spread 1-1/2 cups peach preserves over the rolled-out dough before adding the nut filling.

American Coffee Potica

For the filling, reduce the milk to 1/4 cup and add 1/4 cup double-strength espresso.

Chocolate Potica

For the filling, replace the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves with 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, reduce the nuts to 1 cup, and add 3/4 cup ground chocolate.

Cream Cheese-Pine Nut Potica

Replace the nut filling with cream cheese filling (page 321 of the book) mixed with 1/4 cup ground pine nuts.

Poppyseed Potica

Replace the nut filling with 3-3/4 cups poppyseed filling (page 322).

Strawberry-Cream Cheese Poticia

Replace the nut filling with 3 cups cream cheese filling (page 321) mixed with 1 cup mashed and strained strawberries.

Walnut-Raisin Potica

For the filling, reduce the nuts to 1 cup and add 1 cup soaked raisins.


Potica Traditions

Potica (from the verb poviti, "to roll up") is a symbol of Slovenian national identity. Making this walnut roll is an elaborate process, and the preparation of the cake is a major part of special occasions and holidays. At weddings you may find dozens of potica towering in the center of the tables, sometimes as many as one per person, so that all guests will get their share. On Easter morning, families bring potica, ham, bread, and eggs to be blessed at church. They are then served to the family at Easter breakfast.


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This page created May 2011