Polish Papal cake is a lovely pastry that is a creamy custard that is in between two pieces of puff pastry. It is topped with powdered sugar. This polish treat was called Kremowka and the name was changed to Kkremówka papieska (kreh-MOOF-kah pah-PYESS-kah) when it was learned that Pope John Paul II loved it!
So Poland’s most famous citizen was born Karol Jozef Wojtyła, who later became the cardinal of Kraków and then Pope John Paul II and now St. Pope John Paul II. In his youth he used to stop by a high school friends fathers bakery and came to love this dessert. In fact it is said that for graduation from high school Karol had a Kremowka eating contest in which he 18 of them but did not win the contest.
This Polish Papal cake is similar to a French Napoleon and is pretty quick to make although you need to watch it closely as the creamy custard can get lumpy in a hurry. I did not perfect it, but the slightly lumpy texture did not take away from the deliciousness of this dish one bit.
There are many choices for desserts as the poles love their sweets from gingerbread called Piernik sweet cakes to cakes made from cheese, to pound cake. They also make wonderful chocolate. I chose this one because I figure if this was good enough for the Pope it is good enough for me…….. A heavenly bite indeed!
Do you like the way I sprinkled the powdered sugar? I wanted to pay homage to the beloved Pope.
Did you know that St. John Paul the II is recognized as helping to end communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. He also significantly improved the Catholic church’s relations with Judaism, Islam and others. He was the second longest serving pope in Modern history and was the first non-Italian pope since the early 16th century. If you would like to learn more about his native land be sure to check out “Our Journey to Poland” plus get some more delicious Polish recipes.
Craving even more? Be sure to join the culinary and cultural journey around the world so you don’t miss a thing, it’s free, You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook , Pinterest and youtube to follow along our journey.
Polish Papal Cake (Kremowka Papieska)
Polish papal cake is a light and creamy custard that lies between two pieces of puff pastry. Said to be St. Pope John Paul's favorite.
For the dough:
- 1 sheet puff pastry dough thawed
For the Pastry Cream:
- 2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch salt
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 large egg yolks beaten
- Garnish: confectioners' sugar
- Heat oven to 400 F.
Prepare the Puff Pastry
Roll out the piece of puff pastry slightly to blend the seam lines, keeping it 1/4-inch thick, keeping the rectangle shape, then cut in half. One will be the top, the other the bottom.
- Poke the puff pastry with a fork many times and put it on a cookie sheet. Cover with parchment paper and put another cookie sheet on top. The idea is you don't want the puff pastry to puff.
- Bake 15 minutes, remove top cookie sheet and parchment paper.
- Replace rack and continue to bake until golden and crispy throughout, about 15 more minutes. Cool completely. Watch closely so it does not burn.
Make the Pastry Cream
- While the puff pastry is baking, make the pastry cream. If you like a thick layer of filling, double the recipe,
- In a medium saucepan, bring milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, cornstarch, and egg yolks to a boil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.
- Reduce heat slightly and continue to boil 1 minute, stirring constantly making sure to get the very bottom of the pan.
- Take the pan off the heat and immediately place it into an ice-water bath. if you have lumps, you can try to strain it through a sieve into a heatproof bowl set in ice water.
- Do not chill the pastry cream. It will be poured hot over the baked puff pastry.
Assemble the Kremówka
- Using a 13x9-inch pan as a container, place one layer of cooked puff pastry on the bottom of the pan.
- Pour the pastry cream over it, and place the second layer of cooked puff pastry.
- Refrigerate until set (about an hour).
- Dust with confectioners' sugar.