recipe

Karpatka: the delicious recipe for making Polish Carpathian Cream Cake

Total time: 1H10 + chilling time
Difficulty: Low
By Cookist
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Karpatka is an easy Polish Carpathian cream cake dessert recipe. It’s the peasant version of the more refined kremówka—a basic cream pie of two layers of choux pastry, filled with vanilla milk custard.

Because of its craggy, mountain shape and snow-capped look, it’s named after the famous Carpathian Mountains. The texture comes from a crunchy pastry, with a smooth custard filling.

For the dough, you will need flour, water, milk, butter, and eggs. And for the custard cream, you will need eggs, sugar, flour, eggs, and butter – basic ingredients that most cooks have in their kitchen. It can take a while to make because the different layers have to cool down before being assembled, but it really is worth taking the time to do this properly as the results are delicious.

What Is Karpatka?

Karpatka (pronounced car-pat-kah) is a Polish Carpathian cream cake consisting of two layers of choux pastry, filled with vanilla custard cream. It’s said to be the peasant version of the more refined kremówka. Enjoy a large karpatka slice together with a cup of coffee or tea.

Karpatka is thought to have originated in Poland in the 1950s, although it only got its name a few decades later in the 1970s.

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Karpatka vs Napoleonka

Karpatka is a peasant Polish cake with a rich vanilla cream custard filling sandwiched between two layers of choux pastry. Karpatka is the more rustic version of kremówka or napoleonka, as choux pastry is quicker to make in home kitchens than puff pastry.

Karpatka Ingredient

To make this recipe you will need:

Flour – all-purpose.

Milk – whole milk or full-fat.

Butter – salted or unsalted.

Eggs – use large eggs.

How To Make Karpatka

Making a Polish karpatka is far easier than you may think.

Making the Dough

Mix the baking powder and flour in a bowl and set aside. Pour the milk and water into a saucepan. Add butter and a pinch of salt, and place over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and the mixture starts to boil, quickly stir in the flour.

Cook the dough for about 1-2 minutes on low heat, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture into a medium bowl to cool a bit. Stir in eggs, one at a time, into the cooled dough. Divide the batter between two cake pans and bake at 200°C/400°F for 20 minutes each.

Making the Filling

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk 2 eggs with sugar until smooth, add flour and mix well. Pour in the milk, stir well and cook until the cream starts to thicken, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes. Transfer into a bowl and set aside to cool.

In the meanwhile, beat butter until frothy. Gradually add the cooled cream, and continue to beat until smooth.

Assembling the Karpatka

Place the bottom layer of the cake back in the springform and spread with the cream. Top with the second cake layer and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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Tips For Polish Carpathian Cream Cake

For the best results for the pastry, follow these tips. After adding the flour (add it all at once), you’ll need to stir the ingredients vigorously until it no longer sticks to the pot. This allows the gluten to develop and will ensure that the pastry puffs up nicely when cooked. Take the pot off the heat before adding the eggs. If the flour mixture is too hot, the eggs will end up cooking, resulting in a gummy pastry that tastes eggy.

You can also serve the Karpatka with caramel sauce or berry coulis.

For a richer karpatka, add Bailey’s liquor to the custard, or fold caramel into the filling.

How To Store Karpatka

Store the Karpatka cake for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, in an airtight container. If you keep it for longer, it will go soft.

When refrigerating the custard, make sure that the plastic wrap touches the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming.

Can You Freeze Karpatka?

The Karpatka is not suitable for freezing!

Ingredients
for the dough
Flour
150 g (1 1/2 cups)
Water
100 ml (1/2 cup)
Milk
100 ml (1/2 cup)
Butter
80 g (1/3 cup)
Eggs
4
Baking powder
4 g (1 tsp)
Salt
a pinch
for the cream
Milk
500 ml (2 cups)
Granulated sugar
150 g (1 1/2 cups)
Flour
100 g (1 cup)
Eggs
2
Butter
180 g (3/4 cup)

Instructions

Add baking powder into a bowl with flour and mix.

Pour milk and water into a saucepan, add butter and a pinch of salt, and set over medium heat.

When the butter has melted and the mixture starts to boil, stir in the flour. Cook the dough for 1-2 minutes on low heat, stirring constantly.

Transfer the mixture into a medium bowl to cool a bit. Stir in eggs, one at a time, into the cooled dough.

Stir until combined.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Spread half of the obtained batter at the bottom of the cake springform and bake for 20 minutes. Then, continue with the remaining batter to obtain the second layer. Allow to cool.

In a saucepan whisk 2 eggs with sugar until smooth, add flour and mix well.

Pour in milk, stir well and brew the cream thickly over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes.

Transfer into a bowl and set aside to cool.

Place the bottom layer of the cake back in the springform and spread with the cream.

Beat butter until frothy, gradually add cooled cream, and continue to beat until smooth.

Spread the custard cream mixture on the first cake layer.

Top with the second cake layer and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

Decorate with icing sugar.

Slice, serve and enjoy!

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