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What Is Prekmurska Gibanica?

Poppy seeds, which are used to make the filling for prekmurska gibanica.
Prekmurska gibanica includes several layers of ground walnuts.
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  • Written By: Rebecca Cartwright
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 20 July 2014
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Prekmurska gibanica is a traditional pastry dessert considered a hallmark product in the Republic of Slovenia. Originating in the Prekmurje region, it is now found throughout the country. The prefix "gib", from the root "guba", means "folded" in the Slovenian language, and refers to its layers of strudel pastry interleaved with four different fillings. Prekmurska gibanica has been classified a "Traditional Specialty" by the European Union, which means that no commercial product may be labeled with that name unless the manufacturer follows a traditional recipe. The dish is so famous within Slovenia that is appears on one of the country's stamps.

Traditional prekmurska gibanica has a base of short crust pastry or pie dough topped with a layer of strudel pastry. There are four fillings, each with a different combination of flavors and textures. Each layer is sweetened, and has melted butter, margarine, or oil brushed on top. A small amount of a sour cream and egg mixture is spread on top of that to complete the layer. Between each filling layer is a layer of strudel pastry.

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Poppy seeds are the main ingredient in the first layer of filling which are ground and mixed with vanilla sugar. The next layer is sweetened curd or cottage cheese, mixed with egg for thickening. A layer of ground walnuts follows, also mixed with vanilla sugar. Finally there is a layer of tart apples, sweetened and flavored with cinnamon. These layers, in the same order, are repeated, for a total of eight layers of filling.

The top apple layer is covered by a last sheet of strudel pastry dough. On the very top is a layer of sour cream mixed with eggs. The traditional baking dish for prekmurska gibanica is a round, earthenware casserole, and after baking it is cut into wedge-shaped pieces. Modern chefs often bake it in a rectangular pan and serve it in squares or rectangles.

As is true of most traditional dishes, there are many variations of prekmurska gibanica. The most common include adding raisins to the apple layer, mixing hot milk into the poppy seeds and walnuts, and mixing sour cream with the curd cheese. Those wishing to market a product labeled prekmurska gibanica in Europe, however, must follow the authorized recipe. Producers of "Traditional Specialities" must use the prescribed recipe and procedures for their speciality and produce it in the required form. They must also officially certified before marketing the product.

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