This recipe for Montenegrin custard slices or krem pita traditionally is made with scratch puff pastry, but using the store-bought kind is perfectly acceptable. The trick is in preventing the pastry from puffing up too much and still be flaky (see below). If you’re a stickler for tradition, take comfort in the cooked custard filling.
In the native Montenegrin language word pita means “pastry dough” and has nothing to do with Middle Eastern flatbreads. Krem means “cream.” This dessert can be made with two or three layers of pastry.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 9 Krem Pita
– 2 sheets (1.1-pound package) frozen puff pastry, thawed
– 6 large egg yolks
– 6 tablespoons sugar
– 2 tablespoons instant flour
– 1 1/2 cups milk
– 2 packages unflavored gelatin
– 1 quart heavy cream whipped with 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
– Confectioners’ sugar
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out each piece of puff pastry slightly to blend the seam lines. Without cutting all the way through, lightly score each pastry sheet into 9 sections. Sandwich each puff pastry sheet between two pieces of parchment paper and two cooling racks. This will keep the pastry flat but still flaky. Bake 15 minutes, remove top rack and top sheet of parchment paper. Replace rack and continue to bake until golden and crispy throughout, about 15 more minutes. Cool completely.
Whip the egg yolks and sugar until thick and lemon-colored. Add the instant flour and milk, mixing well. Transfer to the top of a double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly until the custard thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Dissolve gelatin completely in 1/2 cup cold water. Stir into the hot custard until completely dissolved.
Cool the custard in an ice bath, stirring occasionally. If, for some reason, the custard has lumps (from being cooked at too high a temperature or undissolved gelatin), strain it through a sieve.
When the custard is cool and very thick but not yet set, fold in the sweetened whipped cream. Layer over 1 sheet of baked puff pastry and top with the second sheet. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. For easier slicing, use a damp serrated knife. Cut into rectangles. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.