Pumpkin Cheese Pie Povitica, and the Traditional One.

October 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Breads, Breakfast, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Vegetables, Yeastspotting | 50 Comments
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OK, this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever done on this blog.  I simply cannot write normally at this time, so outside of a few blurbs, I’m going to post the photos, and the Daring Kitchen bot stuff.  I’m in a really bad mood.  I might say things I may regret..or not.  Wow, that sounded all vigilante.  I embarrass myself sometimes.

Ever go through those blogging ruts where nothing seems to turn out right, from the dish, to the photos, and it’s so frustrating, it takes away the fun in writing the post?  You literally stop flowing.  Herky jerky, forced writing.  I’m deep in one of those ruts now, and it’s got a grip on me like quicksand laced with super glue.

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni (my cassoulet comrade) of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

Throughout the next day or two, as I exorcise the bitch, I will start adding text to this post.  Nice stuff..I promise.   I know…it doesn’t always have to be nice, but the last thing I want to do is type in characters, because the expletives could be rampant.  Can a thesaurus give me a more suitable word for F%$^&%$%  &^%$%%?

Chocolate Walnut Povitica

The two poviticas you see are the traditional walnut from the challenge, and my creation, a pumpkin cheese pie povitica.  Yes, ‘pie’.  How I got there was by adding ground cinnamon graham crackers to pumpkin, cream cheese, brown sugar, an egg and spices.  The filling minus the graham crackers would have been too runny by itself to spread on the dough.  The graham crackers thickened it while adding a ‘graham cracker crust’ flavor to it.  It’s a big slice of pumpkin cheese pie in a graham cracker crust, rolled in a rich, paper-thin, yeasted dough.

Povitica (poh-vah-teet-sah) is an Eastern European bread that’s called a dying art, as in not many home bakers make it anymore even though it’s pretty amazing.  Now I know why.  It’s not easy by any stretch.  The dough has to be rolled super-duper thin…transparency thin –read the paper through it thin, LIKE strudel thin.  See the relationship?  I cannot do strudel dough either. I’m Eastern European and I cannot turn out an aesthetically pleasing Eastern European bread or pastry to save my life. I’ve been asked to make a babka for a friend.  Not sure what it will end up looking like..but I’m pretty certain it won’t look like a babka. My Russian – Hungarian badge may be revoked soon.

Having said all that, the dough is not even the hardest part.  The traditional walnut filling being spread on this paper-thin dough IS.  This stuff is as thick as old honey.  We were told we could add milk to thin it once it cooled.  I added milk…and stirred.  Added more milk, and stirred.  It was a sponge, a ravenous brown blob..it literally soakied up all the milk with nary a change in viscosity.  I gave up and dumped scoops of it all over the delicate dough to cover as much ‘land’ as possible..then the 45 minute spread.

To all those who took part in the challenge, how did you spread this stuff without ripping the dough???  My dough was so elastic and perfectly thin, BUT, it lifted and tore on and off as I tried to spread the thick walnut filling. By the time I finished and started to roll, the holes were sticking to the floured sheet, so I couldn’t pull up the sheet and roll it using the sheet – like this video shows  (why is their walnut filling so loose and easy to spread??).   Below is what the ropes of long dough looked like in my bread pans.  I used the S-shaped method shown in the video for these two,  but by the time I finally got them into the pan, they were torn C’s that sunk into each other with a tired moan.  The pumpkin filled ropes tore because I accidentally let go of one end while lifting it – and the heavy filling pulled it open.  Elephant trunks after a night out drinking and fighting.  Not a pretty sight..look away if you must!!

The first loaf I made, (which isn’t pictured because we ate it up quickly. I wanted to make it again because although delicious, t felt it was too dense and thought I did something wrong – so I called it a test run), I used Wolf’s rolling method, shown in the collage above, in hopes of turning out a loaf just like hers. Isn’t it gorgeous??  Well..that ended up being a far away dream because I didn’t get even one swirly coil, in any of my three loaves!  Everyone in the challenge got them. Now I know for sure I’m not destined to have swirly coils in my povitica.

So, thhis is the last thing I’m adding to this post.  I’ve come to the conclusion that when you bake or cook angry or sad, it translates into the final result – hence why I had so many problems and no swirls.  I think I should meditate or do yoga, before cooking or baking, next time I’m out of sorts.  At the very least, I’ll be limber.  I have to try the povitica again..LIMBER and relaxed!

Swirly coils or not, this is one delicious and wonderfully delicate, crumbly textured sweet or savory bread, so I implore you to make it.  No doubt you will have swirly coils!

Finally, If you leave a comment, and add a joke, since I’m still kind of bitchy and down, I may have a little gift up my sleeve for the one that makes me shoot water  (or whatever beverage I might be drinking at the time) from my nasal cavities 😉

Half Batch Dough Ingredients
Recipe by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk
(Makes two loaves each 1.25 lbs/565 grams)
To Activate Yeast:
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 Teaspoon All-Purpose flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water
1 tablespoon (15 ml/7 gm/¼ oz/1 sachet) active dry yeast

1 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
2 large eggs
1/4 Cup unsalted butter, melted
4 cups All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

Melted butter for brushing the loaves

1. In a small bowl, stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, and the yeast into ½ cup warm water and cover with plastic wrap.

2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes

3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C.

4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup (180 gm/170 gm/6 oz) sugar, and the salt until combined.

5. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz) of flour.

6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.

7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. Note: I did not use all 8 cups of flour

8. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces (they will each weight about 1.25 pounds/565 grams)

9. Place dough in 2 lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.

To fill and roll the povitica, use Jenni’s fantastic step-by-step photo directions, HERE.

Walnut filling
Recipe by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk
for one loaf povitica
1 3/4 cups ground English walnuts
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 Egg Yolk, beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 reaspoon cinnamon

1. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
2. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
3.. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.4.. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
5. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
6. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.

Pumpkin Cheese Pie Filling
For one loaf povitica
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup ground cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, dark brown sugar, and vanilla extract; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg,then the pumpkin puree and spices.  Stir in graham cracker crumbs.

*  You can substitute the all the spices with 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.

• The Povitica will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature.
• The Povitica will keep fresh for 2 weeks if refrigerated.
• The Povitica can be frozen for up to three months when wrapped a layer of wax paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil. It is recommended to not freeze Povitica with cream cheese fillings as it doesn’t hold up to being thawed really well – it crumbles.

I’m submitting my Pumpkin Cheese Pie Povitica to Yeastspotting, a weekly bread showcase hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast.

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  1. I am glad you made a post on bread I really kneaded it! : ). I hope you lose your crustiness so you can finish the post : ). I am going to loaf around for the rest of the day myself : ). Anyway bread looks yummy look forward to the rest of your post. Nice photos too!

  2. Too funny! I have days like this and vent as well (my Rudebarb (rhubarb) recipe happened on one such day… It’s awesome to have a place to vent and sympathetic ears, eh? Those swirls look even better… it’s almost Hallowe’en and in the first and last picture it almost looks like white ghosts… so there, you meant to do that, right?

  3. Oh my Darling, even if you are a little crabby today, and you didn’t get “perfect” swirls, I think your swirls are very lovely! In fact, how the heck did you do the pumpkin cream cheese ones? I love it! As always, you did a splendid job, you are too hard on yourself, and I can’t wait to read what else you decide to write. 🙂

    Ok, here is my lame joke for the day:
    Why was the Scientist’s head all wet?
    Because he had a brain storm!

  4. Great job! Both povitica look wonderful.



  5. Roses are red, violets are blue. I hate rhyming. Penis.


  6. Not sure about you but some of the comments already had me crack up. I am not even gonna try that as I’m not funny… What wrong dear? Did this bread make you so grumpy? In which case I’m quite happy I forgot to make it.. In fact if you see my desk there is this enormous stack of paper (doing the tax returns at the moment.. talk about getting grumpy) and right below all that invoice-boring stuff I can just see the logo of the Daring Bakers. So that pivotica is hiding underneath! Still I think it looks very pretty… 🙂

  7. Your pumpkin and cheese one looks and sounds delicious. Very autumnal too :o) Hope the funk is passing…

  8. Even without the swirls they’re both gorgeous and I can’t wait to read more…even if it is the pissy stuff. No funny remarks here but if you want I can send some fairy dust or placebos your way, they both always work wonders on Maisie’s mood. Hugs to you.

  9. I could tell you my five year old daughters’ favorite knock-knock jokes…
    knock knock… (who’s there…) Doctor. (Doctor who?) Hey, did you know that was an old TV show? (I told you, she’s five… it’s funny to her…)
    How about chicken jokes… Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side. Well why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide! I repeat. She’s five.
    Your poviticas look very cool, and I am super impatient to see about the pumpkin cheese variety, so I hope you start feeling better soon. If five year old jokes don’t help, you can cyber snuggle with the 10 month old… that’s about all I can offer… 🙂

  10. Your bread looks delicious! And I snorted a good laugh when you reported you were “exorcising the bitch”. That was funny. I know some good jokes though they’re mostly clean…I can remember 2 at the moment. Why are elephants big and gray and rough? Because if they were small and white and round, they would be aspirin. and…Where did the king keep his armies? Up his sleevies! OH! and What do you call a fish with no eyes? FSH…. (and you have to drag out the SH part like a big dork. I know that one doesn’t work in written word, but… feel better soon 🙂

  11. “Roses are red, violets are blue. I hate rhyming. Penis.” – well THAT almost made me snort water out my nose, so I hope it cheers you up too!

    Jokes and bad moods aside, the pumpkin cheese pie povitica filling sounds mouthwatering, and I think it looks real purdy 😉 Hope that bitch is exorcised 😉

  12. Lisa, I just finished my post and put it up. Pumpkin cheesecake povitica sounds really good. I just did mine with apples no nuts for the non nut lovers of the family known as kids. My swirls were not so noticeable since I didn’t have chocolate in mine. Sorry your mood stinks but at least your honest. I didn’t really do much talking in my post just tried to get it up 🙂 Have a good night!! xoxo Suz

  13. That is so cool! It’s like a modified cinnamon roll and that is creative the pumpkin version. So pretty! Now I will back away slowly before my head gets bitten off 😉 Hope you find a happy humor real soon! xox

  14. Oh Lisa, these look beautiful! You’re not happy with the photos?I think they look gorgeous. I hope you’re ok? 🙂

  15. Haha I love the idea of a post you can update as your mood improves! I think the way you feel definitely translates into food – I once made a batch of cookies in a folw mood and everything went wrong from egg shell in the batter to the oven temperature…this was not cooking with love! Think your bread still looks great though, and looking forward to seeing the updates as they come through 🙂

  16. Loved your post – it’s interesting to glimpse at a process of developing a recipe. The end result is excellent!

  17. I know what ‘Herky jerky, forced writing’ means. I am going through one bad phase now!! You are not happy with these photos? I think they look awesome. Love the swirls and the clicks. Really beautiful!

  18. Saw the Doctor Who joke, and couldn’t help thinking of a Catherine Tate skit revolving around Doctor Who: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHAJ4VFStUE It might help with the exorcism 😉

    In the meantime, your Povitica looks spectacular; and I love the idea of a Pumpkin Pie Povitica–using the graham cracker crumbs for the Pie-feel is so creative! I’m curious, does it remain crunchy?

    Looking forward to reading how this post keeps evolving! 😀

    • Thank you for that video…very funny and apropos! As for the graham crackers in the filling, not completely crunchy, but there is texture. It’s mostly in the flavor, though 🙂

      • That’s awesome that the graham crackers weren’t swallowed up by the rest of filling–definitely putting this on my to-do list! Thank you, Lisa!

  19. Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9. Go on, say it aloud. I spend my days with kids, so these are the lame jokes I hear.
    Your breads look great and your writing is not nearly as forced as mine always is. So, get over it, ‘kay?

  20. Like I said, I think your bread looks beautiful! But your story sounds like what I imagined the experience of making this bread would be when I read the recipe. I guess I got lucky because my dough was really soft and it stretched really thin when I picked it up on the backs of my hands and I didn’t have to do any rolling. I expected it to pull back like pizza dough and be a huge pain. Maybe it didn’t because I hardly kneaded it all-I have no idea. I added a half cup of thin citrus marmalade to my filling (just for yums) and it was pretty runny. So I pretty much poured it and barely spread it because the dough was obviously fragile. Like I said-lucky! I’m only on my 4th challenge so I know I’ve got it coming to me one of these days!

    • My dough was perfect..elastic, could roll it super thin with no problem…but when I spread the walnut filling, it started tearing in places, and the pumpkin rope ripped when I accidentally let go of one end. Perhaps I rolled the dough too thin? No idea, but *sniff* no swirlies for me this time! Your loaves are amazing!

  21. Your pumpkin photo is simply lovely to look at Lisa. I wish I could offer some prolific blogging advice but I ALWAYS have a tough me with the writing part. I just wish I had a little of that with the eating part! I think your prebake photo looks more like a boys hazing incident gone wrong than a drunken elephant trunk though… Best, Sandie

  22. You want a laugh? Look at the 18th picture on Not Quite Nigella’s Potivica post. If that doesn’t work nothing will

  23. You want a laugh? Look at the 18th picture on Not Quite Nigella’s Potivica post. If that doesn’t work nothing will

  24. Sorry you’re having a cranky day… I completely forgot to even try this challenge. I love the graham cracker idea and I am SALIVATING here.

  25. Your dough in the pans looks sort of ugly but the baked bread looks beautiful! Once again, you’re too hard on yourself xoxo Barbara

  26. By looking at the loaves in the pans I could never tell they are the same ones I see above. They look gorgeous, I think that if the challenge was to make free art with the bread, it would be quite difficult to come up with something like that! I love it! The same happened to me, very thin dough, very grainy filling and it was a huge surprise for me to see the swirls when I cut the loaf, I was expecting anything BUT swirls 🙂

  27. I too, swore a bunch while making this… I think your loaves are really pretty! Super swirly!

  28. I was in a bit of a writing rut this month too. I just couldn’t get the words out. So frustrating. Anyway, I think your poviticas are definitely easy on the eye. Besides, swirly coils are so overrated. 😉 The orange swirls on the pumpkin pie one are particularly beautiful and the filling sounds … well, there are no words. Just a heavy sigh of longing.

    “Roses are red, violets are blue. I hate rhyming. Penis.” That one really made me laugh. Here’s one of the top ten Edinburgh Fringe jokes from 2011: “Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many levels.”

  29. Your slices are just stunning! I never would have known of your tearing problem if you didn’t include that…but that would have ticked me off, too! Hope you have a great weekend with absolutely NO glitches in anything~

  30. Your pumpkin pie filling sounds amazing!! And perfect timing, too. I thought the marbled look of your swirls was really beautiful– it made me wonder how you got that effect 🙂

  31. I first thought the pumpkin bread was a pumpkin muffin! Who needs swirlies when you have stripies? They both look yummy!

  32. Despite what you say these loaves look like they came out perfectly to me! I wish I had a good joke to cheer you up. Ok, here’s one. A baker puts a batch of muffins in the oven. A few minutes later he opens the oven door, checks on them, and closes it again. Another few minutes pass and he checks on them again. Then again. One muffin turns to the another muffin and says, “Hey, what’s with this baker? Why is he checking on us so often?” The other muffin turns to the first muffin and screams “Holy S$%& a talking muffin!” Hope you feel better. We’ve all been there! 😀

  33. A bleached blonde and a natural blonde were on top of the Empire state building . How do you tell them apart? The bleached blonde would never throw bread to the helicopters.

    I’m a natural blonde, but i couldn’t resist! Your poviticas look great, despite the party hardy elephant trunks.

  34. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife. The sheet is also used for rolling the Povitica up but again it is not necessary.

  35. Hiya i found your blog today and I love it!. Thank you for sharing your lovely poviticas! I think they look beautiful!

  36. I never heard of this bread…both look very tempting…love how you curled them and I sure would love to try them both. Pumpkin and cheese is very creative…
    Hope you have a wonderful week and thanks for this post Lisa…

  37. Oh, hugs to you LIsa! Sorry it wasn’t working as you hoped, and I think we’ve all been in those blogging ruts before, I know I certainly have. I’m sure you’ll be bouncing right back pretty soon.

    Your povitica looks fantastic though, I’m not sure what you’re worried about. The pumpkin pie one sounds delicious. And I did half-measures of the filling (but used different nuts), the filling was quite runny actually. Maybe the egg size? I know I used a smallish egg.

  38. Some of the comments are too funny! Lol.

    both of the povitica look lovely! thanks for sharing!

  39. Besides the fact that I feel you manage to beat yourself a little too much over your baking skills…I do truly understand that our energy and mood should be in sync when put against such challenges.

    Well, for myself…I honestly had never heard a povitica…so there…how hard should I be on myself?

    Lisa…I really appreciate that you share your vulnerabilities as well as your successful accomplishments. Makes us all feel normal and alive!!!

    Have a great (non-moody) week ahead. Life is too short for bad days.

    Ciao for now,

  40. Well, the pumpkin potica sounds delicious and looks gorgeous–sorry it was so frustrating to make. Don’t worry, you don’t have to turn in your Russian-Hungarian baker badge just yet . . . .

  41. I confess your photos of the wretched things made me grin – looking there so sad and miserable in their pan before baking. 🙂 I’m so glad it at least tasted good after all that fuss and bother! 🙂

  42. Lisa, You must be “Type A” because your bread looks GOOD to me! You are so funny:) The Pumpkin Cheese Pie version sounds delicious!

    P.S. Two cannibals were eating a clown and the one cannibal said to the other “Does this taste funny to you?” 🙂

    XO, Sue

  43. Waw, Lisa -Michele! You have outdone yourself big time, this time! Your special cake looks just FABULOUS!!!!!! Gobsmacked here! Really!

    Kisses from Belgium to you, my friend! 🙂

  44. I have a million things to do and can’t get away from your blog! I grew up with this stuff, my Grama was from Yugoslavia and we call it Potica. She had a special tablecloth she used for this and for what we made in DB as Strudel, really Phyllo dough, but the Serbs call it Pita. They are both delicious but frankly a pain in the arse to make. But you inspired me to pull out that recipe, it has been years….I’ll let ya know how it goes!

  45. “Elephant trunks after a night out drinking and fighting.” You crack me up! Mine didn’t have swirls either because, oops..I didn’t do this challenge. LAME! Had intended to, so maybe it’ll happen..someday. I still think both of yours look pretty and the pumpkin one sounds awesome!

  46. What about making a cinnamon babka filling instead? It surely would spread much easier and who cares if it has nuts or anything else??? haha I’m definitely a cinnamon girl and am wondering if a cinnamon spread might be the way to go in this instance.

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