po-ti-ca (paw tee tzah)
When I was younger, I used to love to sit in front of the oven window and watch my mother’s potica rise. This traditionally festive sweetbread has, perhaps, lost its true purpose in today’s era of plenitude, but it is still popular due to the numerous filling possibilities. According to tradition, the potica is rich in eggs and especially milk products, but we’re breaking tradition here, right? It may look intimidating, but really isn’t difficult to make once you get the gist of it. For this one, I chose an obscure filling option from central Slovenia, pumpkin seeds.
For this recipe, you need a 12 × 31 cm deep baking mould. You can go even more traditional and bake it in an appropriate-sized Bundt pan. You can easily double the recipe to make two loaves in a standard rectangular pan. Potica freezes well. Make sure that your ingredients are at room temperature before starting.
- 300 g + 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour
- 1 cube of fresh yeast
- 50 g of good margarine
- 50 g + 1 tsp of mascavo sugar
- 175 ml + 2 tbsp of plant-based milk of choice
- 3 heaping tbsp of silken tofu
- grated lemon rind
- pinch of salt
- 200 g of dry pumpkin seeds
- 50g + 25 g of mascavo sugar
- 50 g of good margarine
- ½ of vanilla bean, inside scraped
- the rest of the silken tofu (300g package)
- vegan breadcrumbs
- confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Start by preparing the dough. Sift the flour into a large bowl and let it wait in a warm spot. Start the yeast by crumbling it into a small pot and adding the 2 tbsp of flour, 2 tbsp of milk and 1 tsp of sugar; let this develop in a warm place, too. While it rises, mix the rest of the ingredients in a smaller bowl, beginning with the sugar, margarine and tofu, and adding salted milk and lemon rind. It will not be a smooth mixture, but no worries! By this time, the yeast is done, so pour it into a dent in the flour and adding the milk mixture. Mix it all together with a wooden spoon until a dough appears that separates nicely from the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5 more minutes, then cover and let rise in a warm space until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. First, crush the pumpkin seeds in a food processor for a minute. Mix with 25 g of the sugar and toast slightly in a skillet, setting aside just as it starts to smell nice. In a small bowl (the one you used before for the wet mixture perhaps), mix the sugar, the vanilla paste and the margarine into a smooth paste, then add the rest of the tofu. Mix well before adding the toasted seeds, then mix that, too. Set aside and prep your working area.
You will need a clean old sheet, folded twice to a manageable size, flour and a rolling pin. Before shaping the potica, grease your baking pan and cover the whole surface with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle and spread some flour generously onto the sheet, enough so that the dough doesn’t stick. Knead the dough for a minute before shaping it into a rectangular log. While rolling the dough to a 5 mm thickness, keep in mind the length of your pan, so shape accordingly. Spread the filling on top of the flattened dough, then use the sheet to help you roll the potica. Place into the baking pan and let rise in the warm oven for 20 to 30 minutes, then turn the heat to 180 °C and bake for about an hour. Cover with aluminium foil to prevent top from burning. Let cool, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.