krémes, dessert

Hungarian gastronomy is famous for a number of things. Whether you like meat dishes, are a fan of the famous sour cream or have a sweet tooth, there is something for everybody. Hungarian desserts are especially delicious. This week, we recommend you try the krémes.

This cake is popular all over Europe and exists in many shapes and forms. Some say the original recipe comes from 17th-century France – hence why it is sometimes referred to as ‘French cream cake’ -, while others claim it originates from Naples. It is similar to the mille feuille, while English-speaking countries might know it as a vanilla or custard slice. It is also sometimes compared to eastern desserts like the baklava because of the thin layers of pastry.

Whatever the exact origins are, the recipe evolved over the century, and practically every nation has their own version now.

The Hungarian take on it has become especially popular, and even CNN put it on their ‘best cakes in Budapest’-list a few weeks ago.

krémes, dessert

The gist of it is this: you have layers of pastry and vanilla-flavoured cream filling. The number of layers is one of the aspects that varies from country to country. In Hungary, a good krémes consists of a thick layer of vanilla-flavoured cream – up to 8 centimetres tall! – between two sheets of pastry. Sometimes, the cream is topped with whipped cream and the top gets a caramel glaze.


For the pastry

200 g puff pastry

4 tbsp icing sugar

For the filling

250 ml milk

5 egg yolks

1 tsp starch

100 g sugar

1 stick vanilla

1 tbsp butter

100 ml cream


krémes, dessert

Roll out the puff pastry until it is about 2 millimetres thick and fits your tin. Sprinkle the icing sugar on top and place a grid that fits the tin onto it. This will prevent the pastry from rising too much or unevenly, and the sugar will give it a nice, caramelised flavour. Bake in a 180-degree oven for about 10 minutes. When the ten minutes are up, flip it over so that the other side is up, sprinkle icing sugar onto this one, too, and put it back into the oven. After 5 minutes, raise the temperature of the oven to 220-degree but to do not leave the side of the oven in the last few minutes as it can burn very easily. If you see that the pastry has an amber-like, caramelised colour, then you can get it out. Repeat this once more with the other sheet of pastry. It helps if you gently draw the lines of the portions into the uncooked pastry, it will make the cutting-up part easier.

For the cream, warm up the milk together with the stick of vanilla. In the meantime, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, add the starch and blend it all until the lumps disappear. Add the warmed-up milk to the egg yolks all the while mixing it. Over a very low flame, warm it up while continuously stirring it, but do not let it boil. When it is warm and thick, pour it into a different bowl and stir it until it cools to lukewarm temperature. This is when you stir the butter in. Beat the cream and add it to the mixture as well.

Pour the cream mixture onto one of the lines of pastry and place the other one on top of it. Sprinkle it with icing sugar or add a nice caramel glaze to it.

Now, all that is left for you is to enjoy! 😉

For more recipes, check out this article about the Hungarian stuffed cabbage. If you are in the mood for something different, consider the sour cherry soup.

Featured image: – Kálmán Szabó

Source: Daily News Hungary

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