Tomažič, From Hands and Hearts: Slovenian Recipes in Australia

A large number of the recipes and personal stories of Slovenians, especially women, in Australia are preserved thanks to Dr Elizabeth Tomažič who collected and published them in a cookbook titled From Hands and Hearts: Slovenian Recipes in Australia (Melbourne, 2011).

Unfortunately, the book with its priceless collection of 92 recipes and two special chapters about honey and wine provided by more than 40 Slovenians in Australia is sold out and it can (if you or your friends don’t have it at home) only be borrow in a few libraries, such as the National Library of Australia and the State Library of Victoria

In the book (see pp. 139-142), a recipe for the Walnut potica – Orehova potica, an original Slovenian culinary speciality, is provided by Elizabeth’s mother-in-law Milka Tomažič, who “was born in Kovčice in the Brkini region in 1930. She came to Australia in 1957 with her husband and small son. […] Milka, like all other Slovenian women, has been making potica all her life. Her family enjoys it traditionally at Easter and Christmas.”

Walnut potica – Orehova potica

20 g dried yeast
2 tablespoons lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon sugar
7 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup melted butter
8 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

300 ml cream
600 g walnuts, finely ground
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup raisins, roughly chopped, soaked in rum (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
8 egg whites, stiffly beaten with a pinch of sugar

Place the yeast in a small bowl and add milk, flour and sugar. Stir to combine and allow to rise in a warm place.
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the sugar and put aside. Bring the milk to boiling point and stir in the oil and butter. Allow to cool before adding egg yolks, vanilla essence and lemon rind.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk mixture. Mix thoroughly until it consolidates into a ball of dough. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise.
Prepare the filling by bringing the cream to boiling point and pouring it over the walnuts. Stir in the butter and sugar. Add the rest of the filling ingredients except the egg whites.
Mix thoroughly. The filling should be the consistency of thick porridge. When it has cooled, fold in the egg whites.
When the dough has doubled in size, knead gently on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Roll out gently to about 2 cm thickness. Spread the filling evenly across the dough. Roll up quite firmly, place in a baking dish and leave to rise for 30 mins in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Brush the top with 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon milk mixed together and prick the top in several places with with a toothpick. Place the potica in the oven. When it starts to colour, cover with baking paper or foil to prevent the top from burning. Reduce the heat to 170°C. Bake for about another 45 mins or until the top is golden-brown.

When the cake tin is cool enough to handle, turn the potica onto a wire cooling rack. If the potica cools in the tin, the pastry will  become soggy and break away from the filling.”

Dober tek!

A puppy seed potica in the main image of the website was made by Jožica Koštrica in Canberra.

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