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Polish Vanilla Custard Cream Squares

You know we love a good, creamy custard filling, so we’re always on the hunt for recipes that will live up to (and hopefully) exceed our expectations – which this one did! When we first heard of Polish cream cake we were immediately intrigued. Anything that’s stuffed with a thick custard is a “yes” in our book, so it wasn’t a matter of if we were going to try it, but when. Now, there are three Polish desserts that look similar, but that have their own distinct characteristics: karpatka, napoleonka and kremowka, so let’s dive into them and see what makes each of them special.
Karpatka is the first cream “cake” we came across. It’s got a choux pastry dough for the bottom and top layers that, when baked, resembles the peaks and valleys of the Carpathian mountains, hence, giving it its name, since “carpathian” is “karpatka” in Polish. This dough is what’s used to make eclairs and profiteroles, so it’s a little softer and bread-ier than puff pastry, and the pastry cream sets into it beautifully.
Napoleonka is the second Polish cream pie we came across, and is also known as Kremowka. This dessert is different from Karpatka in that it does, in fact, use puff pastry (or mille feuille), which brings a little more texture to the overall dish. There’s much debate over what the “correct” name for it is, but there’s no arguing with how good it is.

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