My husband's grandmother (his mom's mom) was Slovenian and used to make this during the holidays. Unfortunately I never met her but the more I hear about her, the more love I have for her. She was a very loving grandma; very crafty and an amazing cook and baker. This year, when I asked Jeff what I should bake for Christmas, he thought a potica would make his grandpa happy and bring back some old memories, so I decided to give it a shot. Since I wasn't familiar with this treat, I spent a good amount of time reading about it on blogs and getting familiar with recipes and what it should look like. There ways to make it fancy but I went for the simple version (less chances to mess it up!).
For holiday orders, I made some mini panettone among other cookies and treats for orders; I'm really enjoying working with yeast and I'm definitely not as scared of it. Too bad I was busy wrapping and packaging everything that I didn't take a single picture of the adorable mini panettone. Boo-hoo!
Anyhow- here's the potica!
(Recipe follows below)
First of all, you have to activate the yeast, so dissolve the yeast in warm (not boiling) milk with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour. Mix it and let it sit in a warm place (the turned off oven on pilot works wonders) until frothy.
While you wait, cream the room temperature butter with the remaining sugar. Add the egg yolks incorporating them one at the time. Add the frothy yeast mixture, remaining milk and salt.
Start adding the flour, one cup at the time. I started with the paddle attachment,
and once it incorporated the flour, switched to the hook.
Knead the dough for a good 8 to 10 minutes until it incorporates all the flour and it's elastic but not sticky.
While you're waiting, you can get the rest of the ingredients together. You will need 1/2 cup of melted butter, 1 cup of honey, 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit, 1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts and 1 table spoon of cinnamon. Since the recipe makes two potica logs, divide these ingredients in two.
Once the dough has doubled in size, divide the dough in half and punch it out to deflate.
Now is a good time to preheat the oven at 350.
The dough is really easy to work with, since it's not sticky and very elastic.
Start rolling the side closest to you.
And place seam side down in a cookie sheet. Let the dough rise again, for about 15 minutes and bake for 60 minutes until brown.
My placing of the seam side down wasn't great so and i lost part of the honey... and cleaning the pan wasn't fun either!
It was the best potica ever (maybe because i didn't have anything to compare it with)! Heh!
While in Connecticut for Christmas, my mother in law showed me her mom's old recipe books, among them was the "Slovenian Women Union of America Cookbook". This would have made the potica better since it had at least 5 variations of it; so next year i'll be better prepared. The book suggested the Slovenian home makers to share the potica with their American friends. I'm far from being Slovenian, but here... try the potica!
Activating the yeast:
- One package of dry instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of flour (all purpose)
- 1/4 cup of warm milk
- 1 cup of room temperature butter
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 1/3 cups of milk
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4 to 5 cups of flour depending on your dough
- 1/2 cup of melted butter
- 1 cup of honey
- 1 1/2 cups or raisins (i used a dried berry mix)
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon