Pita Od Oraha (means Cake of Walnuts) is a traditional Croatian dessert that is like a slab pie with an interior that is walnut and a bit of Chocolate. This is Teta Mitcica’s recipe and as a child this was my favorite cake that she always had in the house. She had some kind of dessert at the ready in case someone just dropped in for a turkish coffee. Normally there were two cakes that were often rotated. This one with walnuts and the Pita Od Jabucka which was the same except with an apple filling. She always called it a cake but, it is really more like a pie and this one is similar to a pecan pie only made with walnuts. I love it and when I ate it I was instantly transported to Billings Avenue as a little kid!
You will Need:
- 200 grams all purpose flour (1 1/3 cups )
- 150 grams cold, unsalted butter- cut into small cubes (10 tbsp butter or 1 stick plus 2 tbsps)
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 tbsp cold milk
- 1 pkg vanilla sugar (3 tsp)
- 5 egg yolks
- 150 grams sugar (1 1/4 cups)
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- splash of rum
- 6 egg whites
- 100 grams ground walnuts ( 1 heaping cup )
- 3 QT pyrex rectangular shaped dish/ 2.8L (its written on the bottom!)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F
Step 1: in a medium sized bowl add flour and cubes of cold butter. With fingers or a pastry cutter squeeze butter or cut in butter until you get small pea shaped pieces.
Step 2: with a fork add egg yolk, milk and vanilla sugar.
Step 3: when almost incorporated put onto counter and gently press together until it forms a ball. Cut into 2 balls.
Step 4: draw the outline of bottom of the pan onto a piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Dust the paper with flour and try to roll out dough as a rectangle using the drawn outline as a guide. You can use a second piece on top just keep checking to make sure you have just enough flour to ensure pastry doesn’t stick.
Step 5: when it’s close to the right size peel off one side of paper and put in bottom of dish. If you need to cut and paste a problem area that’s ok. I like to use the bottom of a spoon to smooth out the dough and shape the sides so they are even. Roll out top piece same way. Put both pan and top in fridge to chill while making the filling.
Step 6: in a medium bowl (mine of clearly too small!) combine eggs and sugar (these egg yolks were very orange)
Step 7: add cocoa powder and mix well.
Step 8: grind walnuts until finely chopped in food processor.
Step 9: fold into chocolate mixture.
Step 10: in another large bowl with very clean beaters whip 6 egg whites until peaks hold their shape.
Step 11: fold egg whites into chocolate mixture. (I think I could have used a larger bowl!)
Step 12: pour chocolate and walnut layer on top of bottom crust.
Step 13: carefully place top layer on top of filling. Try not to get any filling on the crust. Try to make a neater top than I did.
Step 14: bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees F until lightly browned.
Step 15: let cool and slice in rows cutting on a diagonal to create diamond shapes or you can cut into squares.
Dust with lots of icing sugar in a fine strainer.