Too early to talk fruitcake?
OK, so let's talk fruitcake substitutes. The best, most unusual fill-in for fruitcake I've sampled recently is povitica (po-va-TEET-sa), a traditional Croatian-style bread made by rolling nearly paper-thin layers of dough around sweet fillings before baking in a loaf pan. Povitica is every bit as dense and probably even heavier (about 21/2 pounds per loaf) than most fruitcakes, but without those annoying bits of candied fruit and peel.
Strawberry Hill in Kansas City makes povitica based on recipes from Croatian immigrants who settled there in the late 1800s, and the company ships anywhere in the United States. I set out a cream cheese and a walnut povitica in the office for sampling, and soon after folks stopped asking, "What's this?" the sweet bread was gone.
In addition to English walnut and cream cheese, Strawberry Hill offers povitica in fillings of raisin-walnut, chocolate chip-cream cheese, strawberry-cream cheese and apple-cinnamon. Cost: $25.99, including shipping. Information: www.povitica.com and (800) 634-1002.
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