Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Trio of Christmas Sweets: Domestic Friends, Buckwheat Thumbprints, and Potica with the Flavor of Kosovo


This year, I decided to expand the Slovenian holiday offerings.  First, I tried out two new cookie recipes.  Then I took a bolder step: I came up with a new filling variation for our traditional potica.

A week or so before Christmas, I made some tasty domači prijatelj (domestic friends), the Slovenian take on biscotti.  Last week, I tried out an unusual chocolate/buckwheat cookie called ajdovčki (buckwheat thumbprints). They looked pretty, as you can see from the photo, but the taste was definitely odd. (The recipe follows in the next post, so you can decide for yourself!)

Three days ago, I made the Christmas potica.  For two of the loaves, I stuck with my family's traditional walnut-honey filling.  Then I got creative.

I had a moment of inspiration:  Instead of honey, why not try the honey-tahini spread from Kosovo our journalist son had brought us last Christmas?  I quickly dismissed it as a little too off-beat.  But then he made the identical suggestion. Suddenly, it seemed like a great idea: Slovenian potica with the flavor of Kosovo.

That Kosovo potica was the first loaf we cut into.  It was delicious, with a subtle but haunting flavor from the tahini.  I had made a special effort to roll the dough extra-thin this year, so the potica looked better than ever, as you can see from the photos below.

These photos were taken by our older son, a photojournalist in New York.  So this Kosovo potica really was a family affair.

From our kitchen to yours: Merry Christmas! Vesel božič! Gëzuar Krishtlindjet!



  1. Thank you for your refrigerator potica dough recipe. My mother made potica every year for the holidays. I got one of her recipes and have been trying my hand at it for the past 15 years or so. I'm looking forward to trying your recipe and rolling out techniques this year. Mom always rolled out all the dough at once making a huge square on the dining room table, so that is how I have always made mine. Huge mess and huge effort. No wonder we only made it once a year!

    1. Thanks for writing, Margaret! Let me know how it turns out!

  2. I am another slovenian from Euclid with half of me being Croatian too.
    Once my mother died I tried to make potica but discovered that my mother's slovenian cookbook had many different recipes which looked well used and thus I did not have what she actually did. Anyway, I have put together a good tasting recipe by comparing different recipes. My problem is with rolling out the dough. My mother's roll-out used to be the size of the kitchen table and mine is not that big. I use the same amount of flour as your recipe but don't understand why I don't get the table top filled with rolled dough. Can you provide any suggestions? Thanks for creating this site!

    1. Hello and thanks for writing! As for your question: Well, one answer is practice: Although I have been baking potica for 40 years, for the first 35 it was limited to a a once-a-year Christmas event. During these last few years, I have doing it more often and I get better at rolling a thinner dough. Another thing: Even with the same amount of flour, your dough might be less pliable. Does your dough recipe contain similar proportions of eggs, fat, and liquid as mine? Are you careful to avoid kneading in too much flour? (I used to to do that!) A final question: is it possible that your mother started out by rolling the dough, and then stretched it until it was almost paper thin? Technically, this is the process for making a strudel dough (and the dough generally doesn't contain yeast.) I just took part in a potica making demonstration at the Slovenian Hall in SF. One of the other bakers used a dough like this (no yeast) and did an amazing job of stretching a quantity of dough that used about the same amount of flour of mine until it was draped over a long table until it was approaching the floor! I hope these ideas help. Good Luck!