This is a traditional and very typical dish from Istria, Croatia. It is made only on Easter's morning and usually decorated with an olive oil leaf sticking out from the top.
The original recipe includes raisins, but I'm not a fan, so no raisins in this one ;).
There are a few things one must take into account when making Pinca, and unfortunately I didn't have all the conditions to my favour. Yet as soon as it was done, half of it was gone :D. I'd say, not bad this time ;).
...it disappeared :)
Now, before we start it all, there is one golden rule you should try to stick to. Everything should be warm, almost above room temperature (~28°C). Workplace, air, eggs, butter, flour, everything....
You will need a working board where to put all the ingredients, warm it up. The whole rising procedure will last over 2 hours, so make sure it's always warm.
You will be using flour, warm it up in the oven a bit (but care not to roast it, just warm it up).
Eggs, butter... all at room temperature or above.
Prepare some table cloths, blankets to cover it, warm it up as well (preferably on a heater or flash it in front of the warm oven).
My kitchen is quite an open space, connected to the living room and hallway, to heat that one up would take too much energy, so instead I tried to work as fast as I can and used the oven to warm up the air in front of it, where I would be putting the dough for rising.
Total time: 4h (15' preparation, 3,5h resting time)
Serves: one 24cm diameter Pinca
Calories: ~ 3800 kcal
Baking needed: 180°C, 30'-35'
Additional: warm table cloths and maybe a small light blanket.
- 500 gr wheat flour, warmed above room temperature
- 7g of dried yeast
- 3 eggs, warmed on room temperature
- 150 ml of milk, warmed above room temperature
- 75 gr of sugar
- 75 gr of butter, warmed above room temperature
- 10 gr of vanilla sugar, or 1/2 ts of vanilla essence
- 1/2 ts of salt
- 2 tbs of Rakija, or white Rum above 30% of alcohol
- 40 gr of raisins, soaked in alcohol for at least 20'
Everything has been prepared, warmed up and ready to start? Great, lets start then!
- Swift the flour with the yeast on the working board. Divide the egg yolks from the egg whites. Put the whites aside, you will need them only before baking.
- Make a crater in the middle and add the yolks, sugar, salt, Rakija and raisins (if you're using them).
- Cover the flour with the butter, and in the end pour the milk in the middle. Mind that the milk is warm enough. Not too hot, but warm. It's important for the yeast to rise.
- Knead it all till you get a nice smooth ball. But don't take too long, remember, it should be always warm :). Unless you have a warm room (above 24°C), in that case you're fine ;).
- Cover the ball with the warm cloths (not hot, otherwise it will make a crust) and let it rest for 2,5 hours. While rising it will always need warm surroundings, if you don't have them, try changing the cold cloths with new warm ones every now and then. But be careful not to disturb the dough.
- Now take the dough and form a ball again. Put it on the baking plate covered with baking paper and let it rest for another hour, covered again with cloths. Always warm remember ;)
- Make sure the oven is warmed up before you start this step.
- Remove the cloths, make three careful cuts on it's top, starting from the center to the outside of the ball. This will give it a star like form in the end.
- Now oil the surface with the egg whites, being careful not to spread it on the cuts. Stick the olive oil leaf in the center if you have one available.
- Bake it for 30' - 35' on 180°C, with bottom heater only. The top heater would result in baking the top too fast. ;) You cannot but smile on the smell spreading from the oven now, can you? ;)
- I will repeat it once again, make sure it's warm :) And don't try to use the oven as a warming place, unless you can achieve constant 25°-28°C in it. Otherwise it will only help make a crust, and the dough won't rise properly.
- You can use fresh yeast as well. Just follow the instructions on the package and add it in the center of the crater.