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Cheese potica: a creamy version of Croatia’s beloved dessert

Croatian desserts cookbook

Cheese potica

With walnuts or poppy seed, potica is a dessert that speaks Croatian tradition. We know it by many names. Some call it povitica and some say orehnjača or makovnjača after the fillings.  

I don’t know a single person who is not sentimental when it comes to potica. The look and the taste take us back to our childhood. We remember our grandmas and how easily they could rustle up a cake in their simple kitchen. 

Potica is also special because it comes with so many different fillings. The classic walnuts can be turned into hazelnuts and poppy seed can give way to ground carob. 

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There is one potica filling that is quite rare but really sumptuous – cream cheese potica. 

This one is most common in continental Croatia where cottage cheese was a staple ingredient. In this recipe, we’ll use ricotta because cottage cheese may not be available everywhere. 

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When my cookbook Croatian Desserts was published last year, many of you emailed me and asked for this recipe. 

So here it is – the cheese potica. I hope you enjoy this special variety of our delicious Croatian cake. 

And a special announcement… 

We a running a Christmas special until 20 December. If you get Croatian Desserts cookbook now, you will pay standard shipping only, but we’ll ship express. I know how important it is for the books to get to you as quickly as possible, especially if you’re buying them as gifts. So, that’s a little extra on me. 

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Get Croatian Desserts cookbook HERE

Cheese potica recipe
for 2 loaves

Ingredients:

Yeast sponge:
14 g [4 1/2 tsp] dry yeast
180 ml [3/4 cup] warm milk
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar

Dough:
500 g [4 cups] all-purpose flour
100 g lard or 120 g butter [1/2 cup]
2 egg yolks
100 g [1/2 cup] sugar
pinch of salt

Cheese filling:
500 g [2 cups] ricotta cheese
60 g [1/3 cup] raisins
120 g [2/3 cup] sugar
2 egg whites beaten
60 g [1/3 cup] semolina flour
zest of 1 orange

butter for greasing
powder sugar for dusting

METHOD:

1. Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature and that your kitchen is warm and without draught. 

2. Soak raisins in hot water. 

3. Combine yeast, milk, flour and sugar and let it stand to activate for 30 minutes.

4. Whisk salt into the flour, then rub cold butter in. Add sugar.

5. Mix in egg yolks and risen yeast and bring together into a smooth ball of dough. Cover with a cloth and let stand for 1 hour to double its volume. 

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croatian cookbook

6. Make the filling just before rolling out the dough. Beat egg whites with half the amount of sugar. Mix the other half into ricotta and add semolina too. 

7. Gently stir egg whites into the cheese mix and add orange zest. 

croatian cookbook

8.Roll out the first part of the dough. Aim for a rectangular shape as much as possible and the thickness of 3 mm. Spread half the filling. Drain the raisins and pat them dry. Then sprinkle half the amount on top of the cheese. Roll everything up. 

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9. Repeat the same with the other half of the dough. Place both rolls in a greased pan, cover with a cloth and let stand for another 30 min.

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10. Bake in the preheated oven at 200 C [400 F] for the first 10 min. Then lower the temperature to 180 C [350 F] and bake for another 40 min until the cake gets a golden finish.

11. Leave to cool to room temperature. Cut into slices, and serve dusted with powdered sugar. 

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