Savor the decadence of Vanilla Custard Cream Squares: a divine dessert boasting layers of crispy puff pastry and velvety vanilla custard, crowned with a dollop of whipped cream. An exquisite delight for your palate.
While relishing this treat might pose a slight challenge in terms of cleanliness, it effortlessly rivals the most luxurious layer cakes on the market. The delightful interplay of crisp puff pastry layers and the invigorating vanilla custard is well justified by the minimal cleanup it may require. It truly encapsulates the essence of a complete dessert experience—light, creamy, perfectly sweet, all encased within the satisfying crunch of puff pastry. A liberal dusting of powdered sugar only elevates the experience.
Inspired by the cherished Central and Eastern European pastry, known by various names such as ‘kremsnite’ or ‘cremeschnitte’—essentially translating to ‘cream slice’—we are confident that our rendition offers a delightful tasting experience. Our almost no-bake version features a swift vanilla custard topped with a cloud-like layer of whipped cream.
What distinguishes these slices is the inclusion of puff pastry. Two sheets are baked for just ten minutes and allowed to cool while you prepare the fillings. One sheet serves as the base, adorned with layers of vanilla custard and whipped cream. The other sheet is sliced into squares, simplifying the serving process. A finishing touch of powdered sugar is sprinkled on top before the dessert takes a brief sojourn in the refrigerator for a few hours. For such an elegant pastry, the preparation is surprisingly uncomplicated!
- 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
For the filling:
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 8 eggs, separated
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place each puff pastry sheet on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until they achieve a beautiful golden brown color. Set them aside to cool.
- In a saucepan, heat three cups of milk over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Incorporate the flour, vanilla, and the remaining cup of milk.
- Once the milk reaches a boil, gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the boiling milk, continuously stirring until the mixture thickens. Remove it from the heat.
- In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Slowly fold these whipped egg whites into the custard mixture.
- Place one of the puff pastry sheets at the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish, ensuring it covers the base evenly. Spread the custard over it and refrigerate until it cools and firms up, typically taking 1-2 hours.
- Once the custard has chilled, whip the heavy cream and add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Spread this whipped cream evenly on top of the custard.
- Cut the second puff pastry sheet into 15 squares and place them on top of the whipped cream. Return the dessert to the refrigerator to chill for an additional 2 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top. Enjoy!