Recipes

Spiced Chocolate Chestnut Povitica

I hadn't heard of this bread until I got sucked into voraciously watching and being inspired to bake by the The Great British Bake Off (GBBO). Povitica, also found online as potica to Slovenians, is a Croatian sweet bread with spiraled layers, cut open to reveal and marvel at upon serving -- especially in wintertime or at teatime. It's reminiscent of Babka bread, although the crumb is less egg-y and tender than its Eastern European cousin.  

Povitica with spiraled layers of roasted chestnuts, spices, and happy chocolate

Povitica with spiraled layers of roasted chestnuts, spices, and happy chocolate

Preparation Time: 1 hour
Proofing Time: 2 hours
Baking Time: ~1 hour

For the dough: 
1⁄4 cup / 50g sugar
3⁄4 cup / 180ml milk, heated to 115°F
1 (5/16-oz.) package active dry yeast
1⁄2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 1⁄2 cups / 315g flour, plus more
4 tbsp. / 20g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the loaf pan
1 whole egg

For the paste/filling: 
1 cup/ 5 oz. / 140g chestnuts (boiled, or roasted until soft, you may find them in specialty food stores as 'marrons entiers')
3/4 cup / 150g brown sugar
4 tbsp. / 20g unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
2 1/2 tbsp. / 45ml milk
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. all spice
3 oz / 75g of WKND chocolate (or craft chocolate purchased through Direct Trade or ethically)
2 egg whites (use the yolks to glaze the top of the bread before baking)

-To make the dough: Combine 1 tbsp. of the sugar, yeast packet, and half the milk in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; let sit until foamy (it will look like the head of a porter/stout beer), roughly 10 minutes. Add the remaining amounts of sugar and milk, plus salt, butter, and egg; blend. With the motor running, slowly add flour; beat until a smooth consistency develops, but do not over beat. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel; set in a warm environment about 1 hour (you'll know it's proofed when it's grown in size and through the 'poke test' -- it's ready when you poke the dough with your finger and the dent slightly puffs back -- if there is no indentation you have not proofed long enough yet, and if the dent stays it's over-proofed)
- Make the filling: Puree the chestnuts, sugar, butter, milk, spices, and chocolate in a food processor into a smooth paste. Beat egg whites in the electric mixer or by hand until stiff peaks form; fold this into the paste.
- Grease a 9" x 5" x 2 3⁄4" loaf pan with butter. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 10" x 4" long oval about 1⁄16" thick. Spread dough with nut and spice paste. Starting from one narrow end, roll dough the dough tightly into cylinder form. Cut the ends (saving them for cinnamon buns to cook ~12-15 minutes in a cast iron pan in the oven) and transfer to loaf pan; set in a warm place until the finished dough has risen, about another hour.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Glaze the top of the loaf with beaten egg yolks. Bake until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour, pending oven strength and altitude. Allow to cool on a cooling rack, and then slice, butter, and spread with WKND Chocolate Nib Honey -- yum!