Monday, 19 June 2017

Karpatka - polish Carpathia cake

Today I want to show you how to make a popular polish cake - Karpatka. Filling is creamy custard, similar to that one used in custard slices, but firmer, made with flour and butter not with eggs. Encased between two layers of choux pastry - their uneven surface reminding Carpathia mountains, hence the name. Dusted with icing sugar, to imitate snowy peaks. The cake itself is not too sweet and very creamy - hope you like it :-)

Ingredients for choux pastry (23x32cm form):
1 cup water
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
125g salted butter
5 eggs

Put water  and butter in a pan and slowly heat it on a hob. Once butter is melted and mixture starts to boil add sifted flour together with baking powder. Heat it gently, stirring continuously, making sure batter doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan (otherwise it will burn!). Once dough is piping through, it will start to roll into a ball - when it does take it off the heat. Cool mixture, stirring ocasionally. When it is in room temperature, put it in a bowl and beat it with mixer. Add one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. When all eggs are well incorporated, divide mixture in two pans, lined with baking paper, spreading it evenly. You don't have to make surfaces super-flat - wavy is fine, it will encourage forming 'peaks'. Bake it in 200C for 40 minutes, until golden-brown.

To make the filling you will need:
500ml milk (full fat is the best)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour (strong white one will make filling look less grayish, so you might want to considerate using this one instead)
2 heaped tablespoons cornflour (corn starch)
250g unsalted butter, in room temperature (if you like less greasy you can use less - down to 125g)

Put both flours, sugar and vanilla extract in a pan and add a little bit of milk - mix it to a paste, making sure you get rid of all the lumps. Gradually mix in remaining milk. Slowly bring mixture to a boil, stirring continuously - it will thicken a lot. When it's boiled through, take it off the heat and cover with cling film, in a way so it touches the surface of the custard (this will prevent skin from forming). Once it's cool, mix in butter - adding it gradually spoon after spoon. Beat it with mixer until it's light and fluffy. To assemble the cake, put one one pastry sheet on a tray, spread evenly all the filling and cover with second sheet. Dust the top with icing sugar and chill for 2 hours.
Enjoy :-)

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