An Easter Tradition

When I think back to holiday traditions that I remember growing up, Easter breakfast comes to mind first:  hard boiled eggs, the Easter eggs we decorated, of course, cold Polish sausage, shavings of horseradish root tossed on the eggs and sausage, and potica—pronounced (poh-TEET-sah).  Does anyone know what potica is?  My Slovenian grandmother made it every Easter without fail.  It is a yeast-raised dough rolled around a variety of fillings—sweet or savory.  I only knew one kind, a semi-sweet dough rolled around a not too sweet walnut honey filling.  Yum, yum, yum!  Did I say yum?  Oh, and when it is cut in slices, it reveals a pinwheel design—an added plus to this already delightful desert (or breakfast).

My daughter and husband also love potica, and since my brother, who has turned into the baker of the family, lives too far away for us to steal a piece, my daughter and I started making one on Good Friday afternoon.

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potica 449

The dough is a basic, sweet, yeast dough.  It’s always nerve-wracking wondering if the bread will proof or not.  I used our trusty Minitemp thermometer to make sure the water was between 105° and 115° before mixing in the yeast, so I was feeling confident enough, but you still never know.  The dough chilled in the refrigerator overnight and was ready to be rolled out and baked in the morning.

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We finely ground a pound of walnuts in the food processor.  My grandmother would buy 2 lbs. of walnuts in the shell, shell them all with a nutcracker, then grind them in a hand grinder.  I must say, thank goodness for food processors and walnuts that can be purchased already shelled!

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potica 446

The filling consists of scalded milk, butter, honey, sugar, walnuts, an egg yolk, vanilla, and an egg white folded into the mixture.  It is very thick, sticky, and a bit difficult to spread.

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potica 450

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My mom cuts this in half and puts each piece into a loaf pan.  I decided to bake it on a cookie sheet like my brother does.  I put the potica into a slightly warm oven to rise for a couple of hours.  We kept checking on it to make sure it was rising.

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And, it did!

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50 minutes later we had a freshly baked potica and a house filled with the smell of freshly baked bread.  What was the hardest part of making potica?

Waiting for Easter morning so we can taste it, of course.

I promise to show you what potica looks like when it’s sliced.

Happy Easter!

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7 thoughts on “An Easter Tradition

  1. jeanne

    Oh Cindy…what a neat post! Your bread looks so good and I bet it’s even better on Easter morning. I love your pictures of the bread in the process. Happy Easter Cindy, blessings, Jeanne

    Reply
    1. Cindy Rice Post author

      It was a lot of work to make, but worth it to pass down the tradition to my daughter. I’ve only made this a handful of times over the course of many years so hopefully it will taste good. Happy Easter to you, Jeanne.

      Reply
  2. Carol Christiansen

    Thank you for sharing your family’s Easter tradition of making potica, Cindy! Your photos helped in understanding the process. The filling reminds me of Greek baklava…..but they use layers of philo dough instead of regular dough. Potica has to be delicious with all those wonderful ingredients! Wishing you and your family the blessings of Easter. Easter Hugs! Carol

    Reply
  3. Cindy Rice Post author

    Baklava is so good. Yes, my grandma’s potica recipe tastes a bit like baklava; honey is a predominant flavor in both things, but potica is a lot less sweet so it is perfect as a morning sweet. I’m hoping it tastes good. Happy Easter, Carol.

    Reply
  4. practice95

    Cindy I’m so glad you are helping keep the family traditions alive! Being your bother’s wife I feel fortunate to be benefiting from the deliciousness of this baking tradition! Your grandmother would be so proud!

    Reply

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