Strangely enough I heard about Povitica, or Povetica for the first time while watching the last series of the Great British Bake Off. The most popular British baker introduced me to one of the oldest bakes of the country where I'm from. I totally fell in love with it and almost made my way to the kitchen while the episode was still on.
But I didn't. It was a while before I had enough time to enjoy myself making it. Slicing it while it was still warm was all about patience. We gathered around the table led by an amazing smell and I had to keep reminding everyone, including myself, that I really need a moment to take a decent picture (or two) before we turned it into crumbles.
Prepare a clean table cloth and a 1kg loaf tin
- 70g unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp milk
- 250 g roasted pecan nuts
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- Mix the flour with sugar, then add milk with the dissolved yeast, the melted butter, egg, vanilla sugar and knead until the dough is soft, smooth and stretchy.
- Tip the dough into a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – about one hour. Butter the loaf tin.
- For the filling, place the butter and milk in a small pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat.
- Place the pecans, vanilla, sugar and cocoa powder into a food processor and blend to a powder. Add the egg yolk, milk and butter mixture and pulse to combine. Set aside.
- To assemble, spread a clean bed sheet over a kitchen table and dust with flour. Turn the risen dough out onto the sheet and roll out the dough into a large 50x30cm rectangle. Brush the surface with 20 g melted butter.
- Using the backs of your hands, dusted with flour,stretch the dough out from the centre until very thin and translucent. The rectangle should measure approximately 90cmx60cm; spread the filling over the dough until evenly covered. If the filling has been standing for a long time and is too thick, add a little warm milk to loosen it.
- Starting at the long edge of the dough, lift the sheet and gently roll the dough up tightly, like a Swiss roll.
- Carefully lift the dough and place one end in the bottom corner of the greased loaf tin. Ease the roll into the base of the tin to form a long ‘U’ shape, then double back laying the roll over the first ‘U’ shape to form a second ‘U’ shape on top. Leave to rise for one hour.Preheat the oven to 180C/160C(fan)/ 350F/Gas 4.
- Brush the dough with beaten egg white and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 150C/130C(fan)/300F/Gas 3 and bake for a further 45 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover with foil if the top begins to darken too much.Take it from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Choose the topping of your liking - icing sugar, runny icing, chocolate.. I melted 50 g of white chocolate with 2 tbsp double cream then dotted it with a bit of a dark chocolate. Whatever you pick you want make a mistake.