TASTE OF TRIESTE: Carsolina

It goes by several names, the Pasta di crema Carsolina (the Carsolina pastry), La Zavata Carsolina or bedroom slipper of the Karst or simply La Carsolina. It is part of the Holy Trinity of Triestine desserts (Apple Strudel & Sacher Torte being the other two).

To the untrained eye and palate it could be mistaken for a napoleon cake but it is different. First, it doesn’t have the black and white, zebra like, cloyingly sweet sugar glaze on top. But it does share similarities with a millefeuille, as it is a stacked dessert. What makes it unique is a pastry cream tinged with a bit of vanilla and blended with whipped cream creating a pillowy custard that then is spread on 2 or 3 layers of super crisp puff pastry sheets and then covered in powdered sugar. Servings are large (ergo the slipper comparison) and can usually be shared.

In the Slovenian version, there are 2 tablespoons of wine but I prefer the non-boozy version more commonly found.

Ingredients
Rectangular puff pastry;

600 ml of milk;

4 egg yolks;

100 g of flour;

35 g of butter or vegetable margarine;

180 g of sugar;

200 g of fresh cream;

(2 Tablespoons white wine)

vanilla confectioners sugar.

Preparation
Unroll the puff pastry , place it on the baking sheet and prick it all over with a fork, place a second baking sheet on top and bake in the oven at 180 ° for 15 – 20 minutes until you get a golden pastry . Meanwhile, pour the milk into a saucepan and heat it together with the vanilla until it comes to a boil. Beat the eggs with the sugar until they become frothy and white, then add the flour and mix well with a whisk . Add the warmed milk a little at a time, and finally the butter (and wine if using) and cook until the cream reaches the right density . Remove the cream from the heat, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool completely covered with plastic wrap . Whip the cream until you achieve stiff peaks, add half the whipped cream to the pastry cream, stirring with a whisk to mix the two well, finally add the second part of the cream, folding it in from the bottom up. Now you can proceed with the assembly of your Karst millefeuille, take a rectangle of pastry, lay a generous layer of cream, cover with another layer of pastry and another cream, close the carsolina with a layer of pastry and a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar .

Viezzoli is my favorite spot for the Carsolina (non boozy), but if you’d like to try the traditional recipe, Pasticceria Marc in Basovizza is the spot.

Pasticceria/ Panificio Caffe’ Viezzoli Via della Cassa di Risparmio, 7, 34121 Trieste TS, Italy Tel. +39 040 368624

Pasticceria Marc – Via Igo Gruden, 64, 34149 Basovizza TS, Italy Tel. +39 040 226147

Whether visiting or living here, Carsolina is a must and once you’ve experienced it you will always want more….

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