I do like tradition and I do love sweet cakes – who doesn’t? Lin’s blog: Lin’s Recipes provided an impetus for me to marry these two things in her February Cake Challenge.
Lin challenged each person to research and make a cake from a selected list of old recipes and report on it during February. From the list of daunting culinary masterpieces, I chose a cake I had not made before: Kremowka. Kremowka is a polish cake sometimes called Papal cream cake or even Napoleon, after the two gentlemen who apparently were rather fond of it. [Well, that may partly explain their girth!]
But hang on, I thought! I am a complete failure when it comes to pastries…. in fact, I suck at them! With the exception of one ‘wholemeal flour – never fail quiche’ pastry that is in my baking repertoire, I give a wide berth to any recipes calling for pastry to be made, so how was I going to fulfill Lin’s challenge? Scroll down to see….
The slice itself, comes with history: The story goes that one day Pope John Paul revealed to a crowd of onlookers how he was a big fan of Kremowka, or Kremowki, as it is also sometimes known in Poland. The Day after he said this, scores of devotees turned up to greet him, each bearing gifts of Kremowki, and ever since the slice has earned the nickname ‘Papal Cream Cake.’
In researching the slice, I found a Russian “You-tuber,” who provided me with some useful (visual only), cooking tips for making Kremowki, whilst Polish recipe guru, Ania Culiniac, provided the recipe, which had apparently, been handed down from her father, (a pastry-chef from a top hotel in Warsaw). Ania’s videos, [relax – those ones were in English], further assisted me with details, as I am afraid my knowledge of Russian is limited to ‘yes’ and ‘no’…….
Here is the recipe I used and a few extras if you wish to try the adaptations I made: –
Puff pastry dough*
1 cup of Butter ( 230 grams)
2 cups of Milk ( 50 ml)
2/3 cup Sugar ( 150 grams)
1/3 cup White flour (85 grams)
5 Egg yolks
1 Vanilla bean
Icing sugar for decorating
- Amanda’s optional extras: – Dutch Cinnamon Mix:- 1 tablespoon Cinnamon and 1 tablespoon castor or fine grain sugar; 1 egg white.
- Flour your surface and roll out the pastry to 2 mm thick. Cut out two same sized rectangles. Ania used two A4 pieces of paper for guidance. Transfer the pastry onto the baking sheet covered with baking paper. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 1 hour, otherwise it will shrink unevenly.**
- Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Brush the egg white on your pastry and sprinkle a generous amount of Dutch cinnamon mix on top.
4. Bake for around 20 minutes till it is nice and golden. Set aside to cool completely.
In the meantime, make the custard cream filling.
- Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise, remove seeds and add both seeds and bean to milk.
- Pour the milk into the saucepan on medium heat.Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally.
- In a mixing bowl, place the egg yolks and sugar and beat till light yellow and fluffy.
- Add flour and mix till well combined.
- Slowly add the hot milk, minus the vanilla bean, just little bits at first, mixing constantly. When you have added all the hot milk, return the mix back to the stove.
- Reduce heat and continue to cook stirring constantly, until it has thickened, like a pudding, this takes at least 2 minutes. Cover the mix with microwave safe plastic wrap and let it cool to room temperature. The plastic wrap with prevent a skin from forming on top of the custard. Don’t rush this step. COOL Completely!!!
- Place the softened butter into the mixer and beat for 2 minutes till fluffy. Spoon the cooled custard cream, into the butter mix, one tablespoonful at a time beating well after each addition.
- Lay each cooked pastry sheet on the baking paper, cinnamon side down, and place a lightweight pine chopping board on top and press down evenly and gently. This flattens the pastry without damaging its airy texture.
- Lay one sheet of cooked pastry down for the base, (cinnamon side upwards)
- Pile the custard evenly on top.
- Place a second layer of puff pastry on top, (cinnamon side downward), and gently press. Even out on the sides with a spatula. Refrigerate overnight.
- The following day: cut into rectangles with a sharp knife.
- Dust heavily with icing sugar and serve.
The best part of the recipe is always in the eating…..
Rating: ********* 9 /10
More fantastic cakes here
** My secret to a good pastry – use pre-prepared pastry dough! Shame, Amanda: Shame!!!
Something for the taste buds to Ponder About