picture credit: pinterest.com
As Melania Trump approached and shook hands with the Pope yesterday, Francis asked in Spanish through his interpreter and pointed toward President Donald Trump: "What do you give him to eat? Potica?" She looked puzzled at first, as did reporters, apparently thinking the pope was talking about pizza. But then the first lady seemed to understand that he meant potica (pronounced paw-tee'-tzah), a Slovenian nut roll. The First Lasy is Slovenian and was surprised the Pope was so well-informed. Turns out his Holiness is a big fan of the dessert. "Potica, ah yes," Melania said.
The Hirshon Slovenian Nut Roll – from TheFoodDictator.com
Dough 1 cup plus 6 T. butter, melted and cooled (2 ¾ sticks) 1 cup sugar 6 egg yolks Microplaned lemon zest from 1 lemon 1 ½ cups sour cream ¾ cup warm milk 1 t. sugar 6 cups flour, plus more for kneading 1 t. salt
Yeast Mixture 5 tsp. dry yeast 1 Tbsp. sugar ½ c. warm water Nut Filling 2 lb. ground walnuts shopping list ½ c. butter 2 c. milk 1 c. sugar ½ cup honey ½ cup tarragon syrup 4 eggs 1 tbsp. cinnamon
Tarragon Syrup 1 cup sugar ½ cup water 1 handful fresh tarragon
To make the syrup: Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir and add tarragon.
Continue stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Simmer for an additional 2 minutes and remove from heat.
Let the syrup cool and transfer to an air-tight container. If refrigerated, the syrup will last for months.
For the dough: In a one-cup measure, dissolve yeast in warm water, add sugar, stir and let bubbles form on top.
In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest and sour cream.
Mix well. In a small bowl, proof yeast in warm milk and sugar.
Add yeast to the sour cream mixture. Mix well.
Sift flour and salt. Add to the mixture in the large bowl and stir to combine.
You should have a soft, sticky dough. Turn it out on a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic.
Divide dough into four even balls and flatten them slightly.
Wrap in plastic wrap.
Grind walnuts. Heat butter until golden brown and add nuts, stirring constantly; when thoroughly warm, add milk and mix well on low heat until mixture boils.
Add sugar, syrup and honey, mix well; bring to a boil and boil for 20 minutes.
Beat eggs and pour slowly into mixture, stirring constantly and boil 10 minutes more. This mixture scorches easily, so heat must not be too high.
Construct the Potica:
Carefully dump dough onto table that has been covered with a twin sheet or tablecloth and lightly floured.
Start with a rolling pin, rolling the dough to a rectangle about 24 by 36 inches.
Then stretch dough to 42 by 60 inches or to your table size.
Cut off any thicker edges – it should be very thin.
Drop filling by large spoonfuls over two-thirds of the dough (using hands spreads is the easiest and most uniform method.)
Spread evenly to edges and pick up short edge of cloth and gently roll over and over itself.
Cut into pan-size strips and patch with leftover thin dough or cut with a small plate and pinch ends shut.
Place in prepared pans and prick with cake tester (or turkey pin) to prevent air bubbles.
Cover and let rise about 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 340° F depending on oven.
Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 20 minutes. Carefully dump out in hand, remove paper and set on a cooling rack. Cover with a cotton cloth and cool.