Karpatka – Carpathian Mountain Cake – gets its name as the top looks like the rugged mountains and the icing sugar dusting looks like a fine covering of snow.
The Carpathian Mountains – Karpaty in Polish – are a mountain range in an arc roughly 1,500 kilometres in central and eastern Europe; part of the range is in Southern Poland and can be described as Alpine.
It is made with 2 layers of choux pastry with vanilla pastry cream in between the layers and the top dusted with icing sugar.
This was invented by an Italian chef in the mid 16th century and soon became popular in France. It gets its name from the French for cabbage as the little buns made from this pastry looked like little cabbages.
It is made without any raising agent. It is the large water content in the dough which turns to steam in the high oven temperature which causes the pastry to rise.
I read loads of conflicting advice on how to make choux pastry.
My first attempt came out more like a Yorkshire pudding.
After several attempts I now have a recipe that works.
300ml of water
2 teaspoon of granulated sugar
200 g of plain flour or strong plain flour *
pinch of salt
*Using strong flour gives a drier pastry whilst using plain flour gives a softer pastry.
Pre-heat the oven to GM6 200°C
Grease 2 equal sized rectangular baking trays with sides or a large rectangular tin.
Put the water, pinch of salt, sugar and the butter into a saucepan.
Heat gently so the butter melts and then slowly bring this to the boil.
Sift the flour.
Taking the pan off the heat add the flour, all in one go.
Return the pan to a gentle heat.
Using a wooden spoon blend this all together until the dough forms a ball in the middle of the pan.
Take the pan off the heat and put the dough into a bowl and leave till it is completely cold.
Add the eggs one by one, continually blending the mixture. You can use a wooden spoon to do this – I have found it easier to start with an electric whisk to begin with and then cahnge to a wooden spoon at the end. You get a thick paste type mixture.
Divide the mixture between the two trays and spread it out to fill the tray – do not smooth down the top – you want to have rough peaks.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Increase the heat up GM7 and bake for another 10 minutes
Using a cake tester make holes in the top of the pastry to remove some of the steam.
Bake for another 5 – 10 minutes.
The pastry should be ready now, test to see if it feels dry – if not return for a few more minutes.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
Budyń made with 500ml of milk. (see previous post)
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
2-3 drops of vanilla essence
1 egg yolk
Cream together the butter, sugar and egg yolk till pale and fluffy.
Add the vanilla essence and mix this in well.
Add the budyń, spoonful by spoonful, mixing it well in.
Assembling the Cake
Whilst testing this recipe, I used half quantities of the choux pastry – ie just 1 tray – and cut this in half – the photographs – reflect this.
Place one piece of the baked pastry onto a serving board.
Cover the pastry with all the pastry cream spreading it evenly to the edges.
Place the second piece of pastry on top.
Dust the top lightly with icing sugar.
Cut into squares to serve.
Served on Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.
Though not as authentic but easier you can just use the chilled budyń on its own as the filling.
Served here on Greenaway by John Russell from the 1960s.