Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Lovely Ljubljana

How majestic the Alps are! Their beauty mesmerizes you even when you are flying above them in the smallest plane you have ever set your foot into -and there is turbulence! I must say I have been a regular "Flying Finn" lately, what with first going to Amsterdam and then after only a few days back home flying again, this time to Ljubljana in Slovenia.

I had been wanting to go to Slovenia for a long time. Every single person with whom I had talked about going there, had told me what a nice and beautiful country Slovenia is. So, my expectations were pretty high, but I must say, I was not dissapointed! Ljubljana is lovely. And you have to love a place where they serve you three kinds of pancakes, apple strudels and couple of other sorts of cakes for breakfast!:)

I also managed to buy a find assortment of hand made Slovenian chocolates, which I am trying very hard not to eat all too quickly! What do you say about white chocolate with pictacchios, dark chocolate with cinnamon and carnation, white chocolate with cinnamon or dark with salt flower? Cukrcek also makes dark chocolate with Tabasco, but that I found a bit too exotic for me...

Potica is a typical Slovenian dish which can be made in different flavors, walnut potica being one of the most traditional variations. As I like walnuts a lot, I just had to try this Slovenian speciality. The potica in the picture is admittedly bought in a store :) (I have not had time to try to bake one yet), but here is a recipe for making one. The recipe comes from a wonderful little book called "100 Selected Dishes. The Cuisine of Slovenia" by Slavko Ademlje and Janez Bogataj. And before we go to the recipe, here is a wonderfully funny cartoon video with another recipe on how to bake a potica. :)

Walnut Potica (Orehova potica)

600 g flour
40 g fresh yeast
1 egg
2 egg yolks
50 g butter
50 g sugar
2-3 dl milk
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
zest from 1 lemon

300-400 g walnuts
100 g sugar
100 g honey
40 g butter
2 egg whites
2 dl milk
zest from 1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp rum

1. Pour the flour into a large bowl, cover and leave somewhere warm.
2. In a small bowl mix the yeast, 2 tablespoons of both lukewarm milk and flour, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Leave somewhere warm to rise.
3. In a third bowl beat the butter, egg yolks & sugar until creamy.
4. Grate the zest of 1 lemon.
5. Heat the milk slightly.
6. Pour the milk onto the egg mixture. Add salt & lemon zest.
7. Mix together the flour, the yeast mixture, and the milk & egg mixture, and make a dough that is not too thick. The dough is ready when it comes off a wooden spoon & the bowl.
8. Cover with a cloth & let rise in a warm place until the dough have doubled in size.

1. Heat the milk.
2. Add half the butter & half the sugar & bring to a boil.
3. Grind the walnuts & pour the liquid over them.
4. Bring the honey to a boil & add to the milk mixture.
5. Grate the lemon zest & add it to the mixture. Add the cinnamon & rum.
6. Leave to cool.
7. Whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar until firm. Fold into the cooled walnut mixture.
8. Stir in the remaining butter.

Compiling the potica:
1. Grease a cake mould & sprinkle it with some breadcrumbs.
2. Roll the dough out to the thickness of ca. 1 cm.
3. Spread the filling onto the dough.
4. Roll the dough up tightly & put it into the mould
5. Leave in a warm place to rise once again.
6. Beat an egg & brush it on the roll.
7. Bake for ca. 1 hour in 180 C.
8. When the potica is ready remove it immediately from the mould, in order to prevent it from getting damp and to prevent the crust from coming off.


maybelle's mom said...

wow, it is so pretty. my family is not big into walnuts, so it looks I will have to hope someone else will make this for me. PS, those pictures are so lovely

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A beautiful place! With the snow and Christmas decorations, it looks like in a fairytale... Nice Potica!



anya said...

And there is chocolate, and there is travelling, and there is beauty: life could not be any better, could it? :)

Mary said...

What a lovely story and blog. I am first generation Slovene (in the US) and lucky enough to have my family's recipe for Potica. It is fun to make and truly a work of art. My son left his legal profession to keep the tradition alive in the US. Check out our family treasure, now called Rocky Mountain Potica at RockyMountainPotica.com
Feel free to drop Nick a note as I'm sure he would love to exchange travel stories with you.

Cinnamonda said...

Thank you for the compliment, Maybelle's mom! You could make a potica with for example apple filling, if you want to try the recipe, but don't want to use walnuts.

Rosa, Ljubljana really is a beautiful place. The old town is just dreamy! :)

Well, Anya, I must say that with chocolate, travelling and beauty life is pretty good! :)

Thank you for visiting my blog, Mary! What a nice idea your family has in keeping the potica tradition alive in the US!