Glinda's Notes: Povitica (pronounced: PO VEE tee sah) is a filled Croatian Yeast Bread in the tradition of my Grandmother. Grandma's names included: Dragica Budiselic' Blaskovic' (as she was known in her homeland) and Dora Caroline Budiselich Bloskovich (which was her name in her new home).
I suspect the Bread varied by Family Tradition and Preference. I have had a number of varieties which others loved, but they were not like my Grandma's. It is likely that the tradition of my family came out of the early 1900s when my Grandmother and Grandfather immigrated to the United States.
My Grandmother made this yeast bread as did her daughters, Mary and Anna. This Recipe is from my Aunt Mary and is dated December 23, 1976, when we visited Aunt Mary, Uncle Wayne and Aunt Anna at the holiday season. That is 32 years ago today.
Povitica is a highly sophisticated craft which takes a long time to make. It would surely help if the Maker had skill in making Sweet Yeast Breads. If you are trying it out, I would suggest making a half or even a quarter batch, which is what I did until I got it just the way I wanted (which meant in the traditon of my Croatian relatives). Otherwise, you have a whole lot of something which isn't quite the way you'd like.
Traditional filling in my family was Walnut. However, my Father said my Grandmother also made varieties of Apricot, Cheese, Apple, Raisins with Apples. I do remember the other varieties too.
1/2 Cup Milk, scalded and cooled
1 1/2 Cups warm Water
2 Tablespoons Dry Yeast
2 Eggs, beaten 5 Tablespoons Oil (I use Butter)
1/3 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Salt
4-6 Cups of Flour
Filling: Fillings can be made with Walnuts, Apricots-soaked and ground, Apples-sliced, Raisins with Apples, Cheese. Walnut is the basic recipe. (Note Nov. 4, 2011: I have not fully tested the fruit and cheese fillings. I have made them but am still experimenting. On the next tries, I would dramatically reduce the liquid for the fruit and cheese fillings. The amount described below works fine for the Walnut Filling.)
Right now I am making Povitica with 3 fillings: Walnut, Apricot, and Apple/Raisin. I simply cut the basic recipe below into 3rds and substituted the other fillings. The Apple/Raisin definitely does not need all the liquid.
7 Cups Ground Walnuts
1 Cup Milk, scalded and cooled
2 Eggs, beaten
1 T. Vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 Cups Sugar
2 T. Sugar
(1) Mix bread in usual way. Let rise 1 1/2 hours until double.
(2) Mix filling to spreading consistency. You may want to add more (or less) Butter or Milk.
(3) On a large flat surface, roll dough from middle to edge. When complete, it should measure 4 feet across. Stretch until it falls off the table. [Dad said that my Grandma would cut this part off and any other thickened edges. Save. Roll up and bake as a treat for Children.) The real trick of making Povitica is to roll it thin. And when you think it is thin enough, you should probably make it thinner. The dough should be so thin that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the surface underneath. Be careful not to tear. (4) Evenly distribute Filling.
(5) Roll dough up. Coil into pan (14x16x2). (I use my big granite roasting pan.)
(6) Let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
(7) With pastry brush, coat bread with half cup of cold Strong Coffee and 2 T. Sugar.
(8) Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees; then 300 for 45 minutes or until done.
(9) Remove from oven. Brush with melted Butter. Let cool completely before eating, if you can.
by Glinda Crawford, last edited December 21, 2009