It’s a rolled-up cake made with a very thin yeast dough, and filled with a sweet walnut filling. Or at any rate that’s its most common form in and around Slovenia. But that’s not to say that nut paste is the beginning and end of potica. Potica’s name derives from a Slovenian word meaning “to wrap up” or “to roll up”, or so I understand, and in that region of the world they wrap and/or roll quite a few different things.
Poppyseed paste, for example. Also cooked apples, sweet farmer’s cheese, honey, raisin filling, cooked cherries, chocolate filling…and those are just the sweet varieties. Tarragon and egg potica is an old Slovenian classic. Chive and egg is another, but by far the most interesting of the savory bunch is a crackling and bacon potica that was traditionally made in the winter (pig slaughtering season), meant to be eaten warm and washed down with plenty of beer. I searched for it when I visited Ljubljana in my university days back in the 80’s, but I came up empty. Drat.
All of which is not to say that potica is a strictly Slovenian food. It may well have originated there, but it’s been enjoyed all throughout Central Europe, from Turkey up to Poland, Germany to Eastern Russia for going on 200 years.