Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Povitica/Potica (Rich Pastry Layered With Almond Filling)

Povetica/Potica ("Poveteetza/Poteetza") is a delicious nut filled Eastern European pastry. It takes a bit of planning and work, but very much worth the effort. Just watching it being made was so very intriguing that I couldn't wait to make it myself!
Vegan Povitica - My first one!
This is a veganized adaptation of a recipe from Paul Hollywood of The Great British Bake-Off fame. I substituted ground almonds for the walnuts and used other vegan ingredients but have tried to keep it as close to the original as possible. I have left the measurements in weight as the original as weighing gives more precise results.

Notes: Aqua Faba is the fancy name for the cooking liquid from garbanzo bean; if it is not handy, use other egg replacers. I added a generous pinch of Turmeric for adding a healthy golden hue as eggs are eliminated in the dough; it is not necessary for the filling. Good vanilla extract or paste may be substituted for the vanilla bean. I omitted the salt as the Earth Balance already had salt.

I used the food processor for making the dough using the dough blade; carefully follow manufacturer's directions for making dough.

Important: Using a clean cotton sheet, cotton tablecloth, or a piece of muslin makes it easier to roll the dough very thin; I used a very large flour sack type of towel. 



150ml/5½fl oz Almond milk, warmed
30g/1oz unsalted Earth Balance, melted
300g/10½oz  unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
40g/1½oz sugar
1 generous pinch Turmeric (for color)
1 tsp Active dry Yeast
3 Tbsp Aqua Faba or other egg replacement
½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out

60g/2¼oz Earth Balance stick type
4 tbsp Almond milk
280g/10oz Almonds, ground
½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
100g/3½oz sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder/ground Cinnamon
1½ Tbsp Aqua Faba or other egg replacement, beaten


15g/½oz Earth Balance, melted
about 1 Tbsp Aqua Faba or other egg replacement, beaten for brushing the top

100g/3½ oz Confectioners or icing sugar


Warm the milk and stir in the Earth Balance in a small pan until milk is warm and the Earth Balance is mostly melted; set aside. While you get the other ingredients ready, the Earth Balance will melt.

Tip the flour, turmeric and sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade. Add the salt into one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the melted Earth Balance/milk mix, aqua faba, vanilla and begin mixing on a slow speed. When the dough starts to come together, mix for a further 5-8 minutes on a medium speed until the dough is soft, smooth and stretchy.

Lightly oil a bowl; remove the dough from the mixing bowl into the oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – about one hour.

Place the Earth Balance and milk in a small pan and heat gently until most of the Earth Balance has melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the almonds/walnuts, vanilla, sugar and cocoa powder or cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor and blend to a sandy powder. Add the Aqua Faba or egg substitute, milk mixture and pulse to combine. Set aside. If made too far in advance, the filling tends get thick; but no worries! Just add a couple of teaspoons of warm almond milk to loosen.

Butter a 1kg/2lb loaf tin. My loaf tin is 5 ½x9 ½x3 inches and worked perfectly.

Spread the clean sheet over a kitchen counter/table and dust with flour. Turn out the risen dough onto the sheet and roll out the dough into a large 50x30cm/20x12in rectangle. Brush the surface with 15g/½oz melted Earth Balance.

Dust your hands with flour and gently ease them underneath the dough. Using the backs of your hands, stretch the dough out from the center until very thin. The rectangle should measure approximately 1 meterx60 cm/40x24 inches.

Check the filling; if the filling is too thick, add a little warm milk to loosen it. Drop spoonfuls of the filling evenly over the dough.

Taking care not to tear the dough, spread the filling over the dough until evenly covered. I diped the spatula in warm water periodically to keep it from sticking.

Starting at the long edge of the dough, lift the sheet and gently roll the dough up tightly, into a long snake.

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.

Place the baking tin inside a large clean plastic bag and leave to rise for one hour in a warm place; the bag should not touch the dough.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C(fan)/350F/Gas 4.

Brush the top of the dough with a little of the aqua faba being careful not to drip into the sides of the pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 150C/130C(fan)/300F/Gas 3 while keeping the povitica is still in the oven and bake for a further 45 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover the top loosely with foil if the it begins to darken too much; mine was already brown on top after the first 15 minutes so I placed a piece of foil like a tent loosely on top.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Mix the icing sugar with a few drops of cold water to make a slightly runny but not too thin icing and drizzle it over the povitica. Let rest until the icing is dry.

Slice and serve at room temperature or warmed with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Povitica showing the lovely layering  

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