The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat! Jenni explained in our challenge that Povitica (pronounced po-va-teet-sa) is traditional Eastern European dessert bread that is traditionally served during the holiday season. It is also known as Nutroll, Potica, Kalachi, Strudia, just to name a few. Basically, the dough is rolled so thin that it’s see-through, and filled with a nut paste, rolled up, and baked so there are lovely layers of nut filling and sweet bread all over. It’s gorgeous. Just look at it.
I am enamored by the work and beauty that goes into this baked treat. But how to make it grain-free and dairy-free? I have been staying away from grains for a while now, and I didn’t want to work on a bread that I wouldn’t eat. (Guess I’m kinda selfish that way!) So obviously, I’d have to take the spirit of the challenge, and adapt to my own needs. I imagined what this bread would taste like (having never indulged in it before), and thought about creating a nut paste of my own and incorporating it into a grain-free bread. I’d noticed that Elana over at Elana’s Pantry recently posted a paleo bread recipe that I’ve been dying to try. However, I knew this bread would be a quick bread – a batter that definitely wouldn’t be kneaded or rolled. I’d have to swirl my nut paste into the bread, which obviously wouldn’t be an exact replication of a true povitica, but I hoped it’d be a good approximation.
Whether it was indeed an approximation to the original, flavor-wise, I won’t know. However, this was a tasty, not-too-sweet bread that held together well (a definite plus for gluten-free/grain-free bread!), with a subtle flavor of chocolate and cinnamon in the swirl. It also had the bonus of filling the house with a delicious aroma (even my husband commented about how good it smelled). I’d love to continue to work on various flavors of “swirls” in the bread – I used to be a fan of cinnamon raisin bread back in my gluten-eating days, and it’d be lovely to enjoy a slice of it again as a treat. A big thanks to Elana for working on a paleo-friendly bread that’s sandwich-worthy and delicious – it definitely helped make this challenge a possibility in my kitchen!
Grain-Free, Dairy-Free “Povitica” (a.k.a. pecan-swirl bread)
1 recipe paleo bread
1 cup raw pecans
5-6 pitted dates
1 T honey
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 t cocoa powder
1 T coconut oil
3 T coconut milk
1/8 t Vanilla Creme liquid stevia
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small loaf pan and set aside. Prepare the Paleo Bread batter as directed in the recipe, and scrape out of the food processor into a bowl. Place the pecans in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until they resemble a coarse meal. Add dates, honey, cinnamon, cocoa powder, coconut oil, coconut milk, and stevia. Process until everything comes together into a paste, stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary.
Scoop half of the Paleo Bread batter into the loaf pan. Spoon out half of the nut paste and place spoonfuls all over on top of the batter. Scoop remaining Paleo Bread batter over and spread out. Spoon out remaining nut paste and place evenly over the top of the batter. Using a butter knife, swirl batter around, making a zig-zag motion, from one end of the pan to the other. If needed, smooth out the batter on the top with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, and remove from pan and place on wire rack to finish cooling.