Cocoa Pistachio Povitica

If mesmerizing swirls of cocoa and chopped nuts in bread is wrong then I don’t want to be right. # 133: Cocoa Pistachio Povitica

When I first saw this recipe, I thought wait a second! It’s a babka! I don’t know about you, but I tend to forget that humans in different regions can create the same thing (or at least very similar) organically. From some quick online research, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on which came first, or if they influenced each other at all.

Both babka and povitica are delicious loaves with an intricate swirl pattern that you only get to see once you cut inside. They’re like bread treasure chests! I definitely held my breath before slicing into it – the anticipation really gets to you.

You make an enriched dough, roll it super thin and cover it in a layer of ground nuts, spices and sugar. Then you roll it up like a huge sausage and fold it into a loaf pan. The next step is to look down at the bizarre lump of dough trying to do yoga in your pan and wonder if it’ll ever transform into bread. The last step is to cross your fingers and trust the recipe!

I used almond milk since I didn’t have dairy milk on hand and it turned out poi-fectly. Phew! Some substitutions shouldn’t be feared.

Excuse the blurry photo, but applaud the mise en place! Whenever your recipe calls for melted butter, make sure to pre-melt it so it has time to cool down. There’s nothing worse than adding piping hot melted butter and watching the egg curdle.

Knead away, little dough, knead away. Also exciting pantry update: I’m finally making my own vanilla! It’s about half the cost of store bought extract and it feels super cool to say I make my own, ya feel? All you need is a jar, some vanilla bean pods and vodka. Go forth and mix.

I added a smidge of flour since the dough was more sticky than tacky. My logic is that if you were kneading it by hand, it would pick up and incorporate some of the flour you sprinkle on the board.

Despite the additional flour, it still wants to grab the rolling pin while rolling. I used another sheet of plastic wrap (sorry Earth) on top and it rolled out like a charm.

Rolling can only take you so far – then you gotta hand stretch it. I didn’t go as thin as the recipe suggested and it worked just fine.

The filling is a quick blend of pistachios, pecans, sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon.

Add in that beautifully portioned out dishes of milk, melted (and cooled) butter and beaten egg.

Paint some melted butter on to your masterpiece and spread the filling evenly.

Gently lift the plastic wrap to start the roll and the guide it into one huge cylinder.

Paint with egg wash and pop it in the sauna for it’s Transformation Tuesday moment.

Voila! The best part is that the swirl pattern was different with nearly every slice. Art!

Can you imagine French toast made with this? Watch out – you’re drooling. Happy munching!

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