Annie Lozar Leskovar’s Most Sublime Potica
How to Make Potica

The recipe and pictures are also in East of the East Side

I recommend watching THIS VIDEO and looking at the pictures to the right before you begin making the potica. —Christy Leskovar

From start until the potica is in the pan takes 2½ hours. Resting and cooking takes another 2½ hours. Cooling takes a few hours. Yield is about 48 pieces of potica.

Lightly toast 2 pounds of Diamond walnuts: put the walnuts in a shallow rimmed pan (a jelly roll or half sheet pan), toast on the top rack of a 350°F preheated oven, 10-12 minutes until lightly toasted. As soon as you smell the walnuts, take them out of the oven, even if before the timer goes off. Better they be under-toasted than over-toasted. Do this first, so the walnuts have time to cool. We taste-tested other grocery store brands. We liked Diamond walnuts the best. Set the walnuts aside for now.

Prepare the pan. I use an old, heavy Club Aluminum oval turkey roaster. It is a 15×11-inch pan with high sides, about 8 inches high. The sides of the pan must be at least 3 inches high. Spray the pan with cooking spray. Line it with parchment, such that the parchment goes up the sides. Spray the parchment with cooking spray and sprinkle the bottom with a little corn meal.

Then make the dough:

2 boxes Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
2 eggs
5/8 cup (5oz) corn oil
1 7/8 cup (15oz) hot tap water (this yeast requires HOT tap water, let it run until good and hot)

Mix the hot roll mix, yeast from the boxes, and the sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Add the eggs, then oil, then the HOT water to the well, stir until the dough forms into a ball, then dump the dough onto a floured board and knead for 5 minutes. Continue to add flour to the board as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Knead until the dough is smooth and bounces back when tapped lightly.

Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, let rise until double in bulk, around 30 minutes. I usually let it rise in the oven—a cold oven turned on for one minute, then turn it off, and then put the dough in to rise.

While the dough is rising, make the filling:

Grind the toasted walnuts with meat grinder. I use the finest blade with the meat grinder attachment to my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and grind it into the large bowl that comes with the mixer. The meat grinder at the finest setting is essential. The nuts must be smashed to release the oils. A food processor or blender cannot do this. I tried.

Put the bowl full of ground walnuts on the mixer with the paddle ­attachment.

Add the following one at a time, stir on low speed:

1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 eggs
1 can Bordens Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 stick of butter, melted
The sugar and cinnamon don't have to be exact, rounded up is fine.

With the mixer on low speed, add 1½ cups whole milk, a little at a time, until the filling is thin enough to spread easily over the dough with your fingers. It will thicken on sitting.

Put a tablecloth or a sheet over a large table, big enough to seat six. Generously flour the tablecloth and rub it into the cloth with your hands.

Once you start stretching the dough, you can't stop until the potica is in the pan, otherwise the dough will dry and crack.

When the dough is ready, dump it onto the floured tablecloth, roll up your sleeves (literally), remove all rings and watches, and begin stretching it. Fingernails must be short to prevent poking holes in the dough as you stretch it. The more humid the air, the easier it is to pull. Stretch the dough until it covers the entire tablecloth and is paper thin, thin as parchment. Keep stretching the dough as it drops down the sides of the table. While stretching, if the dough breaks, patch it. When you finish stretching the dough, use kitchen shears or a sharp paring knife to trim the thick edges along the perimeter of the dough. Save this and make dinner rolls out of it.

Gently spread the filling over the dough with your fingers. I drop it in big spoonfuls all over the dough. You need to work quickly but gently. The thinner the dough, the more quickly it dries and breaks. If it does break, don't worry about it. Flip any dough hanging down the side of the table onto the filling and put more filling on that.

Once all the filling is on the dough, and any dough hanging down is on the filling, drizzle and sprinkle over the top:

16 ounces Aunt Sue's Raw Wild Honey
1 pound brown sugar
1 stick melted butter

With arms outstretched, pick up a long side of the tablecloth and roll up the potica. Then put it in the pan in a snail shape. Cover with the table­cloth and let rest 1/2 hour. You can let it rest as long as 1½ hours. When ready to bake, break an egg into a small bowl and mix with a fork. Using your fingers, gently spread this all over the top of the potica to give it a nice glaze. Be careful not to poke the dough.

Bake in a pre-heated 325°F oven on the bottom shelf for 1 hour and 25 minutes.

When done, the potica will be a deep walnut color. Take it out of the oven, put the pan on a wire rack, and let it cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Then put the wire rack on top, say a prayer, maybe two, flip it over (it's heavy), and lift off the pan. Then remove the parchment and put it aside for later. Let the potica cool completely before cutting. This will take several hours. Slide it to another spot on the counter every now and then as it cools. It heats up the counter, which creates condensation and slows cooling.

When it is completely cool, put the parchment paper back on the bottom of the potica. Tear off a piece of extra-wide aluminum foil long enough to wrap the potica. Put the foil on the parchment paper. Say another prayer and flip the whole thing over. (The parchment paper will keep the gooey bottom of the potica from sticking to the foil.) Then seal the foil. When ready to eat, using a long serrated bread knife, I cut slices about an inch thick and cut each slice into three or four pieces. I cut only what we will eat at that meal, then cover the cut with plastic wrap and reseal the foil. I like it with butter.

Copyright © Christy Leskovar

Potica Step 1


Potica Step 3


Potica Step 5


Potica Step 7



Potica Step 2


Potica Step 4


Potica Step 6