Gibanica is possibly the most calorie-dense cake in the world. Perfect for when you’ve just climbed a towering Alpine peak. Or maybe you just have a craving for something decadently indulgent. If so, read on to find out more.
Prekmurska Gibanica, to give the desert its full title, originates from the Prekmurje region of Eastern Slovenia, which lies close to the Hungarian border. Like Kranjska Klobasa, Prekmurska Gibanica has been granted protected geographical status, which means a true Prekmurska Gibanica must be made in the Prekmurje region to a traditional recipe.
This rich layered pastry desert laden with raisins, walnuts poppy seeds and skuta (a traditional Slovenian fresh cheese) is typically served at weddings, a tradition which stretches back centuries. Although the desert originates from Prekmurje, it is commonly served in Alpine mountain huts in the North of Slovenia, alongside more typical Alpine deserts such as apple strudel and štruklji.
Recipe for Prekmurska Gibanica
If you’re feeling brave, you can have a go at making Gibanica for yourself. I’ve never attempted this, but here’s a recipe I’ve translated from kulinarika.net:
For the pastry:
- 280g flour
- 500ml warm water
- 2 tablespoons of oil
(alternatively, you can use 10 pre-made filo pastry sheets)
For the poppy seed filling:
- 180g poppy seeds
- 90g sugar
- ground cinnamon, to taste
- 100ml hot milk
- a little butter
For the cottage cheese* filling:
- 460g cottage cheese, beaten (*this is the nearest alternative to Slovenian skuta, if you can’t get hold of it.)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 100ml sour cream
For the walnut filling:
- 230g ground walnuts
- 90g sugar
- cinnamon to taste
- 2 tablespoons of raisins, pre-soaked in rum
- a little vanilla essence
- 140g sugar
For the apple filling:
- 2 large apples, grated with a little lemon juice added to prevent oxidation.
- a little sugar to taste (adjust according to the sweetness of the apples)
- a pinch of cinnamon.
- Mix the dough ingredients together to form a smooth, silky dough, then cover with cling film leave to stand for at least one hour. Once ready, roll the dough into a thin layer and cut 10 pieces each to the size of a large baking sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 180°/Fan 160°/Gas Mark 4.
- Mix the poppy seeds with the warm milk over a low heat, then add in the sugar and cinnamon, mixing until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, add a little butter and stir, then allow the mixture to cool.
- Grease the baking sheet well and spread the prepared dough onto the sheet. Grease this sheet with a little melted butter then add another. Spread half the poppy seed mixture onto this base. Add another layer of pastry on top.
- Mix together the ingredients for the cottage cheese filling, then spread half the mixture on top of the dough. Add another sheet of dough on top of this layer.
- Mix together the ingredients for the walnut filling, and spread half on top of the dough, then add another layer of pastry.
- Mix the ingredients for the apple filling together then spread half of this mixture on top of the pastry before adding another sheet.
- Repeat these same layers once more.
- Brush the top of the Gibanica with melted butter, then bake for 1 hour.
If this recipe seems better suited to The Great Slovenian Bake-off than your home kitchen, then I highly recommend visiting Slovenia to try this desert for yourself, once travel restrictions have been lifted. Until then I wish you good health and I hope this post has satisfied all those like me who have a sweet tooth!