This Polish cream cake dessert was renamed papal cream cake or kremówka papieska (kreh-MOOF-kah pah-PYESS-kah) when it was learned Pope John Paul II loved it.
Karol Hagenhuber attended Marcin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, Poland (Wadowice is in southern Poland, about 50 km from Krakow.), with none other than Karol Wojtyła, who later became the cardinal of Kraków and then Pope John Paul II and now St. Pope John Paul II.
"My father had a bakery in Wadowice, and Karol would come in several times a week for kremówka," Hagenhuber has said when interviewed about his relationship with Wojtyła. "It was his favorite treat."
If push came to shove, you could say that kremówka is similar to a French napoleon only in the latter case, the dessert is cut into rectangles, not squares.
A very similar Polish dessert is karpatka or Polish Carpathian Mountain cream cake whose uneven top layer dusted with confectioners' sugar looks like the rugged mountainous terrain of the Polish Highlands.
- 2 sheets puff pastry dough (1.1-pound package, thawed)
- 1 recipe easy pastry cream
- Garnish: confectioners' sugar
Bake the Puff Pastry
- Heat oven to 400 F.
- Roll out each piece of puff pastry slightly to blend the seam lines. Without cutting all the way through, lightly score each pastry sheet into 9 even sections. This is just a guide to be used when serving.
- Sandwich each puff pastry sheet between two pieces of parchment paper and two cooling racks. This will keep the pastry flat but still flaky.
- Bake 15 minutes, remove top rack and top sheet of parchment paper.
- Replace rack and continue to bake until golden and crispy throughout, about 15 more minutes. Cool completely.
Make the Pastry Cream
- While the puff pastry is baking, make the pastry cream. If you like a thick layer of filling, make a double batch of easy pastry cream.
- 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 mold, place one layer of cooked puff pastry in the bottom of the pan.
- Pour hot pastry cream over it, and place second layer of cooked puff pastry on top.
- Refrigerate until set. When ready to serve, using the prescored marks as guides, cut into 9 pieces. Dust each piece with confectioners' sugar. Refrigerate leftovers.