No trip to Bled would be complete without sampling the local sweet-toothed delicacy: Kremšnita or Bled Cream Cake. The name Kremšnita is a ‘Slovenisation’ of the German Cremeschnitte, so you will sometimes find it referred to as the more Slovenian-sounding Kremna Rezina. A cake by any other name would taste as sweet? You decide…
History of the Bled Cream Slice
The Kremšnita was created by Serbian pastry chef Ištvan Lukačević, working in the Hotel Park on the shores of Lake Bled. An adaptation of the Serbian krempita, he refined the recipe and made it his own by sandwiching a layer of thick cream atop a thinner layer of custard between two slices of fine puff pastry, finished off with a dusting of icing sugar for extra fairytale appeal. Any cake from Bled must surely have that. The cake became very popular and since then over 15 million Kremšnite have been sold at the Hotel Park alone. Not to mention that every cafe, bar and restaurant in town (and even the local Lidl!) now sell their own version.
Where to try Kremšnita
If you want a truly authentic Kremšnita experience, head to the Kavarna Park; the Park hotel’s terrace cafe with delightful views over the lake. For an even more dramatic setting, try the historic Cafe Belvedere, perched high above the lake on a terrace where Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito once hosted visiting dignitaries and celebrities.
Make it for yourself
If you can’t make it to Bled right now (and I understand this could be difficult) you could always try the following recipe, which I have found at kulinarika.net and translated from Slovenian. I don’t think my patisserie skills are up to this, so I can’t say it’s ‘tried and tested’ (by me, at any rate) but the end result certainly looks good:
- 500g puff-pastry sheets
- 1.6l whole milk
- 9 eggs
- 300g caster sugar (for yolk mixture)
- 100g caster sugar (for egg white mixture)
- 180g plain flour
- A little vanilla sugar
- 1 or 2 tablespoons of rum (optional, according to taste)
- 500ml whipping cream
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
To prepare the pastry:
- Prepare 2 37x25x7cm baking trays with low sides.
- Roll out the dough to about 1cm longer and wider than the baking trays, as it will shrink during cooking.
- Prick the dough all over with a fork to prevent it from rising too much during cooking.
- Bake for around 15 minutes at 200ºC, or until golden. If the pastry sheets are too large, trim them to the size of the pan.
To prepare the custard:
- Of the 1.6l milk, reserve 200ml for the egg mixture. Bring the remaining 1.4l to the boil gradually, over a moderate heat.
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks, placing the whites in a large bowl and the yolks in a smaller one.
- To the yolk mixture add the 200ml reserved milk, 300g caster sugar, flour, vanilla sugar and rum. Mix until smooth with an electric mixer (around 1-2 min).
- Whisk the egg whites until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Then add the sugar a little at a time, being careful not to lose the firmness of the mixture. Once all the sugar has been added, whisk for a further 2-3 min.
- Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the boiling milk, stirring constantly. Mix for a further 3-5 minutes, during which time the mixture should be boiling steadily. Use a moderate heat so as not to burn the mixture.
- Now for the tricky part: make sure your egg white mixture is in a very large bowl, then very slowly pour the hot egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. If possible, get someone to help you do this. As one person pours, the other should whisk with a very large whisk for around 1 minute until the mixture is combined. The trick is to pour the yolk mixture slowly and gradually so it does not overcook the egg white mixture and form lumps.
- Once this mixture is prepared, pour it onto one of the baked sheets of dough. Spread evenly and allow to cool.
- Once the custard has cooled, whip the cream and spread this on top.
- Score the remaining sheet of dough into 15 equal parts and carefully place on top of the cream mixture then dust with icing sugar. Cut into slices to serve.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the Bled Cream Slice. If you try out the recipe, do let me know how it went. Perhaps you could even make your own blog post with pictures of the finished product! Today’s featured image courtesy of UkPaolo: UkPaolo / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)