Prekmurska Gibanica – ‘all-inside-cake’

This is probably one of the best-known Slovenian specialties, loved by the majority of the lucky ones who have had an opportunity to try it. If only you like the rich central European cuisines, you may share my fascination with the complex combination of layers in this surprising cake. The name of gibanica is to be derivated from güba, that mean ‘fold’ or – in this very case – a ‘layer’.

There are two kinds of dough used for preparation: shortcrust pastry (krhko testo) and phyllo or strudel dough (vlečeno testo). The shortcrust presents the very base of the whole culinary construction, after that the strudel dough and fillings take turns to give the final effect.

No rule can restrict the joyful creativity of a cook in alternating the recipe. Nevertheless, there is the ‘law of tradition’, now protected by the EU legislation as, since 2010, prekmurska gibanica enjoys the TSG status (traditional specialty guaranteed). Be that as it may, the fillings are four. They are made of poppy seeds, curd or cottage cheese resembling ricotta (skuta), walnuts and apples.

This combination of fillings makes me think about of flódni, a traditional Jewish cake from Hungary. In flódni, only the curd cheese is lacking. But you will certainly find poppy seeds, apples and walnuts. Maybe it is not an accident as Prekmurje, the region from the gibanica comes from, was part of the Hungarian part of the Habsburg empire until the very end of the First World War. There still is a Hungarian minority present in the region.

I’m not attaching any recipe, but one of the most traditional ones can be certainly found on the website of the Association for Promotion and Protection of Prekmurje’s Specialties (www.disi-po-prekmurju.si).

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