Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Potica - Povitica

Derived from the Slovenian word "poviti" meaning "to wrap in," potica (Serbs refer to it as Povitica) is a sweet yeast bread with a walnut, apple, poppy seed or cream cheese filling. 
Making this treat should be mandatory during the holidays: several generations of family are gathered at Christmas or Easter, the process takes most of the day and there are tasks suitable for both young and old family members. Small hands can grind walnuts while grandma explains how the recipe arrived from the "old country" with her mother "who left when she was 16-years-old, and was never able to see her parents again."  A tattered recipe card contains ingredients and the steps, but the commentary provides the variations: "Your aunt Helen always adds raisins, and aunt Agnes uses honey instead of sugar. Folks worried when your Uncle Andy married a German girl but she learned to make the best potica, and it worked out all right." 
More important than a written recipe is the action of kneading, of observing the dough rise (twice!), spreading the filling just so in order for the pastry to cook and pricking the bread so air bubbles can escape. The kitchen is filled with the aroma of baking bread and the warmth of family stories.


Canjar said...

I have great memories of Povitica at Christmas and Easter! Thanks for the post. - Mark Canjar

Mary Lou Egan said...

I make one every Christmas and Easter for the memories. (Wish mine would turn out like my grandma's or my mother's. )
Mary Lou