One of the most frequent questions tourists ask me is about local Croatian food. The Dalmatian coast well known for fresh seafood and lamb cooked under the iron bell each enhanced with locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables. Our fresh tomatoes brought back the memories of those we picked from the back yard garden when I was a child.
However, it is one of the deserts, which I want to share – Krempita. My gracious friend Nada, chef at Nava Konaba, shared her personal recipe with me. Nada of course makes Krempita from scratch and I am more of a short cut baker, preferring not to spend my days in the kitchen mixing, stirring and trying to recreate the delicate desert. My first and last attempt was disastrous and it was then I began my quest to locate the best Krempita in town. Some were good and quite a few not up to par. Last week I stopped at the Gradska Kavana and it was there I had found the perfect Krempita. I quiver at the memory of the first taste, a small bit of crust and the delicate sliver of golden creamy filling. Oh how I wish I could taste another piece right now!
These last few weeks of cold rainy days afforded me the opportunity to research for an easier recipe online. There were far too many with some not available in English; my reading skills in Croatian are still limited. After a tenacious search, I finally found one, which is not too difficult by substituting puff pastry for the crust. The time was now to share Krempita with my friends. Be prepared, as this delicacy can become additive and it is rare anyone can turn down a second or third piece, especially Ivo.
2 sheets puff pastry
6-1⁄3 cups milk
5 ¼ ounces cornstarch
1-ounce vanilla sugar (2 tbs vanilla)
8 egg yolks
7 ounces sugar
8 ounces whipping cream (whipped with stabilizer)
Let the puff pastry sheets thaw, roll them out on a lightly floured surface, and bake according to directions.
Let them cool, and then cut out the shape according to the size of the square pan -9 inchx13 inch.
Once you cut them to the shape of the pan, cut one sheet into squares which will be the top.
Mix egg yolks with sugar, until frothy. Add a cup of milk (out of the 6 1/3 cups), and corn starch, and mix well. Set the reminder of milk with vanilla added, to boil, and when it comes to a boil, slowly mix in the yolk mixture, and stir constantly for a minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and let cool completely. When cooled, add the whipped whipping cream, whipped with a stabilizer.
Put the whole sheet on the bottom of the pan, and spread the filling over it. Arrange the cut out sheet on top.
Refrigerate for few hours.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving.