Polish Vanilla Slice (Karpatka)

This is Karpatka.

Karpatka is like a polish version of vanilla slice, or millefeuille, only instead of the puff pastry, you have layers of choux pastry.

Imagine one, big, rectangular profiterole filled with pastry cream. Yum!

This is an absolute favourite of my mums, the polish dessert she likes the most. And I made it aaages ago for her, for mothers day, but I kind of forgot to post it. Oops!

So here it is for you now, a classic polish dessert while I am in Poland!

Poland has been beautiful! It is warm and green and sunny here, which is a lovely and stark contrast to the cold, wet and wintery Melbourne I left behind.

I have been staying with family the last few days, and it feels like coming home a little, because I lived here for almost a year when I finished high school. I have loved all the amazing food, beer, sun and conversation, and hope the trip continues to be this great.

Adapted from Moje Wypieki.

For the choux pastry
1 cup water
125g unsalted butter
1 cup plain flour
5 eggs
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 200 C (400F) and line 2 identical baking trays with baking paper.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and butter to the boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, pour in all the flour and mix fast with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and off the sides of the pot, about 30 seconds.

Take the pan off the heat and put the dough into the bowl of your electric mixer.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating at a low-medium speed. Make sure each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Add the baking powder and beat until combined.

Evenly divide the mixture between the two baking trays. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Do not open the oven door while it is baking.

Turn off the oven, then leave the door ajar for the pastry to dry out and cool down. Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the vanilla custard filling
3 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
110g unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain flour
5 tbsp cornflour
4 eggs
icing sugar, for dusting

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of milk, the sugar and the butter to the boil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla, and add the flours, a tablespoon or so at a time, until combined. Whisk in the remaining cup of milk.

Once the milk and butter are boiling, pour the egg mixture into the pot and whisk well for 1 – 2 minutes until the mixture thickens and begins to boil.

Pour the hot custard mixture onto one sheet of pastry, leaving about an inch border plain. Top with the other sheet of choux pastry and press down.

Refrigerate until the custard is cool and set. Dust with icing sugar and cut into squares. Serves 20.

Leave me a comment:

  1. Hello! Greetings from Cracow :) Moje Wypieki is the best blog about pastries- I recomend trying everything from it. Karpatka is fine but I think it should resemble the Karpaty mountains more :)

  2. regarding the vanilla custard, the recipe doesn’t actually specify when to add the vanilla extract. could you clarify?

  3. Ooh! The only profiteroles I ever ate were from the supermarket and came in a little cup with chocolate sauce (mmm, chocolate sauce). Maybe I’ll make this for my family the next time we get together… thanks!!

  4. Hi natasha!
    Is this almost the same as cream puffs? They have choux pastry and pastry cream afterall! haha.
    Everything is good with pastry cream:’)

  5. What is corn flour and i was also wondering do I need to temper the eggs or cool the dough before adding eggs?

    • Hi Deana, cornflour is cornstarch. At culinary school, we were taught to warm the eggs, cool the dough and add the eggs a tiny bit at a time. In real life, I throw cold eggs, one at a time into the pan with hot dough, and it works out beautifully. The way you do it is up to you!

  6. Hi Natasha – I really want to try this the only thing I am concerned about is the use of the baking powder as usually choux pastry relies on steam not leaveners to rise – what role does the BP have and would it make it more dense or more puffy – thanks so much! MJ

  7. Is there any way you could make these into individual servings? using a muffin tray?? Just needing to try and make single serves for a party.