Saturday, 29 October 2011

Prajitura cu crema de caramel

"Caramel cream pastry"

This recipe was given to me by a friend from Transylvania. It's quite a long recipe with a lot of potential pitfalls, so you should make it long before you want to serve it. There is also quite a lot of kneading and beat and stirring involved, so it doesn't hurt the have some help (either another pair of hands or a mixer). It often tastes better the next day when the filling has softened the pastry sheets.

If you have a small oven or a small baking tray then you'll probably end up with a lot of trimmings. Don't throw these away; roll them up in a ball together, roll them out to about a 5mm thickness and cut into rounds with a cookie cutter. The resulting biscuits are a little dry, but are great for dunking in tea.

For the dough:
500g of plain flour
60g of butter
3 tablespoons of honey
150g of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons of milk
Zest of half a lemon
2 fresh eggs

For the cream filling:
One cup of caster sugar
80ml of black coffee
1/2 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of flour
250g of butter
100g of icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

For the sheets:
1. Preheat the oven to about 180C. Line a large deep baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Put the honey, butter, and sugar into a pan and very gently heat, stirring frequently, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Take it off the heat.
3. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the two tablespoons of milk.
4. Sieve the 500g of plain flour into a large mixing bowl (or do it on the work surface if you prefer) and add the butter/sugar/honey mixture, the milk/bicarb solution, and the two eggs. Sprinkle on the lemon zest and mix until it all comes together into a ball.
5. Turn the ball out onto a floured work surface and knead for a good few minutes until the dough becomes smooth and a little shiny and slightly elastic (it'll probably require about 5-6 minutes of kneading).
6. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll them out until they are about 1mm thick
7. Lay the first sheet in the baking tray and trim off any overhanging pieces.
8. Put the tray in the oven and bake until the pastry sheet is golden brown (probably around 10 minutes but keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly).
9. While the first sheet is baking, roll out the second sheet.
10. Remove the first sheet and put to one side to cool. Then put the second sheet in the oven.
11. Repeat stages 7-10 until all four sheets are baked.

For the filling:
1. Put the sugar into a pan and heat on a medium heat until it liquefies and starts to caramelize, being careful not to burn it or it will taste bitter.
2. Once it has liquefied, pour in the coffee slowly, stirring constantly, until well mixed and take it off the heat.
3. Separately, mix the milk and the flour in a cup and slowly add, stirring constantly, to the sugar mixture and keep stirring until it is well combined and thickened somewhat.
4. In another bowl, beat the butter and the icing sugar together, and then add the vanilla essence.
5. Bit by bit, add the caramel mixture to the butter mixture, stirring vigorously until it has all been combined.

Layer the cake with three layers of the caramel cream between the sheets of pastry and allow to rest for at least a couple of hours, preferably overnight. It can then be topped with a layer of whipped creams flecked with grated chocolate or walnut, or a dusting of cocoa - whatever you prefer. The cake is usually cut into small rectangles, each about 15mm x 40mm.

No comments: