#8 Taste of Traditional Homemade Sweeties – Hungarian Krémes = Creamy

Traditional Hungarian Krémes = Creamy (a.k.a. Vanilla Slice )

The traditional krémes recipe is dating back to the end of the 16th century. The initial recipe did not resemble the known Krémes recipe. Since the 1930s the recipe did not change much but the form we know now-a-days developed in the 19th century. The history of the kémes goes back and appeared in 1840 in a cookbook published  by István Czifra suggested making the custard with cream, flour, egg yolk, vanilla, sugar, and butter, and placing it between two layers of dough.

In Hungary the krémes are so popular cake that it can be found in every Hungarian confectionery.

The Hungarian version of the famous cremeschnitte goes under the name Krémes, meaning Creamy. It combines two layers of puff pastry held together with a generous amount of smooth pastry cream. Though the recipe has been slightly modernized, the classic krémes pastry cream should be light and airy, while the top is usually dusted with powdered sugar. Traditionally served cut into large, rectangular slices, the dessert is a Hungarian classic and a staple at numerous pastry shops throughout the country.

Hungarian vanilla custard, layered between crisp, flaky slices of pastry, finished off with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar make up this delicious sweet treat, which is a favorite dessert across the country. Many folks buy it at confectionery for after  Sunday’s lunch not to fiddle with cooking lunch and then to bake rétes. It is siply perfect  with a hot cup of coffee and is one of the most delicious, to mention as popular, Hungarian cakes.

Recipe: Ingredients: Vanilla infused milk:2 cups milk, 1 vanilla pod

Flaky pastry: 1-1/2 cup + 1 tbs flour, 3/4 cup chilled hard margarine, 1 pinch of salt, 4 Tbs cold water, 4 tsp vinegar.
Custard layer: 8 egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup + 1tbs flour, 2 pkg. or 2 tsp real vanilla sugar, 3 pkg. gelatine (21 g), 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 8 egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, thermometer is essential. For the topping: 1/4 cup icing sugar.

Baking: Make the vanilla infused milk first. Heat the milk in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, and add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour. Next make the flaky pastry. In a large bowl crumble the flour and the chilled margarine to fine crumbs.Mix in the salt. Place the cold water and the vinegar in a small dish. Pour the liquid over the pastry crumbs. Stir to combine and gradually form a rough ball. Generously flour a board and roll out the pastry into a thin rectangle. Roll up the pastry and divide into 4 parts. Roll each division into a thin rectangle. Stack the four rectangles on top of one another. Chill for twenty minutes. Divide the chilled pastry into two equal halves. Roll out the first pastry very thin. Fold it in half and place the folded edge in the middle of the 9X13 baking pan. Unfold and arrange the pastry with deep folds as in the photo. Let the dough go up the sides halfway, pastry will shrink during baking. Place in a preheated 400F oven for 14-18 minutes. Keep a watch, pastry burns easily. When the pastry is golden brown, remove pan from the oven. Immediately cut pastry into twelve squares. Divide the long side by 4 and the short side by 3. Wait a few minutes and very carefully remove the squares and set them aside in the same order as they were in the pan. These will go on the top later. Roll out the remaining dough and arrange it in the baking pan as before. Bake the second pastry sheet and set it aside. This will be the bottom of the krémes. Next make the custard layer. In a medium sized bowl beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar for 8 minute. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, gelatine and the vanilla sugar. Gradually add the flour mixture to the beaten egg yolks and beat until smooth. Remove the vanilla pods from the vanilla infused milk. Gradually add the vanilla infused milk to the bowl with the eggs and the flour. Transfer custard to a medium sized pot. Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pot so you can keep an eye on the temperature. Over medium heat and continually stirring heat the custard. Do not let custard heat beyond 80 C degree – 176 F for this recipe. When the custard reached 80C degree remove from heat. Stir in the butter and set aside. While the custard is cooling whip the egg whites. With clean beaters beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the lemon juice and beat until almost stiff. Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until very stiff and shiny. Very slowly and gradually, gently fold the custard into the stiff egg whites. Pour on top of the bottom pastry layer and place in the fridge. Make sure the pan is level on the shelf. When the gelatine is beginning to set, place the pastry squares on the top. Let the krémes chill thoroughly. Before serving generously sift icing sugar on the top. Cut the slices between the pastry squares.

Good to Know: The mouthwatering Krémes – Creamy conquered Europe.  Dr. Oetker published similar recipes in 1935, where the cream was made with vanilla pudding instead of flour: Creampie or Cream Slice. Pudding became very popular in use, however, the original Krémes recipe is made with flour.

The krémes is also quite popular in other Central European countries. In Poland they are known as kremówkas, Slovakia call them krémeš, in Slovenia they go under the name of kremne rezine, Croatians use the name kremšnite, while Bosnians, Serbs, and Romanians have a term krempite.

© by Aggie Reiter

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