Prekmurian layer cake (Slovenian: Prekmurska gibanica) is a peculiarity among desserts and is considered a Slovene national culinary specialty. It prides itself with the European recognition of Traditional Speciality Guaranteed. This old Prekmurian festive and ritual dish derives its name from güba or guba (meaning fold) and has been at home around the Mura river for a very long time.
The special recipe and technology of production give the slice of Prekmuraian layer cake a unique look, which is definitely enriched by the succession of colorful stuffings which endow the end-product with charm and attractiveness. The Prekmurian layer cake is distinguished by a rich specter of fragrance and taste, as well as a pleasant texture evoking feelings of softness, succulence, and fullness.
The oldest written source reaches as far back as the year 1828, when the priest Jožef Kosič compiled a text which mentions the gibanica as a special Prekmurian dish, which is a must at wedding festivities and is also served to workers after finishing a big project. The layer cake is cut into triangular pieces and placed in a pile on the table. Everybody is served a piece which could be eaten or taken home.
In the ethnographic study “Ljudska prehrana v Prekmurju” (The Popular Nourishment in Prekmurje) from the year 1947 Dr. Vilko Novak dealt extensively with the eating habits of people in Prekmurje. The layer cake is mentioned as a baked farinaceous dish and its preparation is also described.
A very detailed recipe for the Prekmurian layer cake has been published by Andreja Grum and Ivan Vozelj in the book “Slovenske narodne jedi” (Slovenian National Dishes) in 1964. The most renowned writer from Prekmurje, Miško Kranjec, also mentions the gibanica in his work “Povest o dobrih ljudeh” (A Tale of Good People) from 1972. He relates the following about the gibanica:
“It has to be said that only a gibanica makes it a real holiday. Although a poor man this is a sign that no-one can survive a year Meanwhile Anna took the gibanica from the oven and placed it on the table, holding the tepsija with cloths so as not to burn herself. Joseph placed under it the wooden saucer on which the water jug usually stood. can afford it barely once a year, without at least one holiday.
Then he looked closely at the gibanica. It lay in front of him all colorful, yellow and white, with poppy seeds bed and knew full well that it could no longer do me any good. here and there, still piping hot, smeared with cream and sprinkled with sugar. He nodded, saying: “It’s good. I would eat it even if I were lying on my death And even in heaven I would mourn it, if I had to leave it whole in the world.” Miško Kranjec, A Tale of Good People, 1972
In the culinary sense the Prekmurian layer cake has been presented in various books and publications. In 2004 the Association for Promotion and Protection of Prekmurian Delicacies applied for registration of an agricultural product or foodstuff with the higher quality label with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Slovenia. When the Ministry approved the application it was published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia. After joining the European Union the Prekmurian layer cake was finally protected on a European level in 2010 as Traditional Speciality Guaranteed.
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