A cremeschnitte is a very popular dessert in Europe.
It is known by many names, most of which have stemmed from the German cremeschnitte, and literally translate to either cream slice or, in some cases, cream pie.
A cremeschnitte consists of two to three puff pastry sheets filled with cream, which usually decorated only with powdered sugar, sprinkled over the upper crust, but in some variants with a glaze of sugar or chocolate and decorated with traditional patterns. It is traditionally served cold cut into large, rectangular slices.
A cremeschnitte is an absolute classic among central and eastern European desserts.
According to some historians, the recipe for the first cremeschnitte comes from a mixture of two cuisines, Austrian and Hungarian, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
It is popular in many former Austro-Hungarian regions in various variations, but they all include puff pastry base and custard cream.
The dessert as a Hungarian classic is a staple at numerous pastry shops throughout the country. The Hungarian name for the dessert is krémes, meaning creamy.
Its Polish name Napoleonka indicates that this dessert might have possibly originated from the French mille-feuille, which is also known as the Napoleon – another pastry whose exact origin is unknown, even though its modern form was said to be influenced by improvements of Marie-Antoine Carême, the famous French chef-extraordinaire.
Polish Napoleonka was known to be the favorite dessert of Pope John Paul II. In 2007, to celebrate Pope John Paul’s II 87th birthday, a giant Napoleonka was baked in Rzeszów.
The other Polish name for the dessert is kremówka. In recent years, the dessert has been renamed kremówka papieska to honor Pope John Paul II, who was a great admirer of this classic Polish treat.
In Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, the dish is known as krempita maening ‘cream pie’. It is usually prepared with puff pastry dough. The filling is usually pure thick custard, less commonly combined with meringue (whipped egg whites and sugar) creme.
In Montenegro, Kotorska krempita or Kotorska pasta is traditionally made for several centuries, It is made with three crusts and may indicate that this delicacy originated from a French cake called mille-feuille, or Napoleon. In recent years Kotorska krempita has its own festival in Kotor, every June since 2015.
Slovenian kremna rezina, the signature dessert of Bled – a popular Alpine resort settled on the shores of the eponymous lake. The recipe cake was brought to the local Hotel Park in 1953 by Ištvan Lukačević , chef of the hotel’s confectionery store. He came to Bled from Serbia where a similar cake was already known.
In Croatia, the two most popular variants are Samoborska kremšnita from the town of Samobor and Zagrebačka kremšnita from the capital, Zagreb.
In Australia, the dish is more commonly known as a ‘vanilla slice’, or a ‘snot block’.
In New Zealand, this dish is known as ‘custard slice’ where it has a puff pastry bottom, custard, puff pastry top and topped with vanilla icing or plain icing sugar.