What is Potica?

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.

11 thoughts on “What is Potica?”

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  2. Never made potica with this recipe, but it’s from sister Vendelina, who is a culinary “institution” in Slovenia. I grew up with potica containing raisins, so this one to me feels very authentic:
    http://www.gurman.eu/recepti.php?S=6&Article=3845 (you can translate it with Google translate)

    In my opinion, from all the variety – banana, chocolate, coconut (very popular) – the best potica there is is called “Potratna potica” (literally “wasteful”, but meaning filthy rich). It’s made out of two sponge cakes (vanilla and chocolate), two fillings (cheese filling and wallnut filling) and of course yeast dough. Yummy.

    And if someone wants to find and google-translate the pork crackling potica, it’s called “ocvirkovka” (ocvirki being pork crackling). For example: http://www.gurman.eu/recepti.php?S=6&Article=3042

  3. I have a recipe with cocoa and walnuts that I never got around to making. Maybe I’ll finally get around to it now that you’re covering it. In the meantime, I’m up to my ears in Danish dough, thanks to inspiration from you.

    You might enjoy this video on how to make povitica: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7anEmxxHpw0

  4. My mother and grandmother always made the traditional walnut and honey filling for potica. And now that both of them are gone, I am making it with my husband helping to stretch the dough.

  5. My Slovenian-American mom takes a dim view when I tamper with the family recipe, which uses a traditional walnut-and-honey filling. (Link to the recipe from my Slovenian cooking blog is above.) My husband and kids, on the other hand, have been receptive to a sprinkle of dried cranberries, almond or poppy seed filling, and especially a rich chocolate version from Trieste called putizza di noci!

    1. Whoa, those sound great, Blair. I’ll try those (and don’t worry, I won’t tell your mom where I got the idea)!

      – Joe

    1. Hey Pat!

      Just look in the left side menus under “Pastry”, you’ll find it!


      – Joe

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