The Carpathian Mountain cake or “Karpatka” as commonly known to Polish people, is a treasured dessert inspired by the magnificent Carpathian Mountain range that extends across the southern part of Poland. This dessert is close to my heart as my father comes from a beautiful city called Bielsko-Biała, lying in foothills of the Carpathian mountains in south-western Poland. A delicate and airy choux pastry base is filled with a velvety vanilla cream custard, that gives French crème patisserie some competition! Wavy contours bubble up during the baking process, and when finished with a gentle dusting of icing sugar, you have your very own edible snowy mountain! In essence; a fusion of a vanilla slice and a profiterole with Polish style, that will leave a memorable impression with your family and friends.
Choux pastry recipe
For the choux pastry base you will need:
- 250ml water
- 5 medium free-range eggs (or 4 large free-range eggs)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 125g butter
1. Melt the butter in the water until almost boiling.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the melted butter and water stirring continuously on a medium heat for 1-2 min. When the dough stays cleanly off the edges of the pan, remove from the heat and spread in a shallow bowl to cool.
3. Once the dough is cooled down (so it’s no longer hot to touch) mix in one yolk at a time until the dough is thick and glossy.
Tip: To cool the dough faster, use the mixer to release steam, until it’s cool enough to add the yolks.
4. Divide the pastry dough into two rectangle 30x 19 cm baking pans, spreading evenly.
5. Bake in a 220°c oven (or 200°c fan-forced) for 20- 25 min. Leave to cool.
Vanilla cream custard recipe
For the vanilla cream custard you will need:
- 1 litre full cream milk
- 1 cup plain flour
- 250g caster sugar
- 5 free-range eggs yolks
- 300 ml thickened cream
- 1 vanilla bean pod, deseeded
1. Mix the flour and eggs yolks with 1/3 of the milk until smooth and well combined.
2. Gently heat the remaining milk on low to medium heat with the deseeded extract of the vanilla bean and half of the sugar. Slowly whisk in the egg mixture and continue whisking gently until the custard thickens and just reaches boiling point. Cool the mixture then refrigerate until completely chilled.
3. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the chilled custard in spoonfuls, and continue whipping until well combined. Tip: Ensure your cream does not reach stiff peaks before the custard is added, to avoid over-whipping the cream.
4. Spread the vanilla cream custard over the first pastry base quite liberally and top with the second base. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
5. To finish your Carpathian mountain cake, dust with icing sugar immediately before serving. Enjoy!
Please share if you try out this delicious recipe and what you think!
Smacznego and happy baking!