Cooking with Souvenirs

When I was in Berlin, Germany early this year at International Green Week, one of the items I picked up was a jar of a traditional Polish treat, krem mleczny.

The display at Green Week was amazing. The fountain of luscious caramel flowed and the rich, deep aroma drew us in. It managed to captured our attention above the assaults on our senses that surrounded us at Green Week.

I didn’t really have a plan for how to use the krem mleczny at home. I tucked it away in the cupboard, but every time I saw it, I wondered what to do with it. I often thought it would be good as a topping on ice cream.

Jose, a colleague also involved with the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists, bought the same treat and ended up using hers in a cake, which I thought was a great idea. When my mother-in-law invited us over for dinner a few days ago and told us a few other relatives would also be there, I volunteered to make dessert. Then, I started looking for a fabulous cake recipe.

The cake ended up being a bit more work then I expected, since it fell apart when I tipped it onto the cooling rake. My kids had no sympathy for me, though, and were more than happy to eat bits that were half in the pan and half on the counter.

In the end, all was good – very good! I used the krem mleczny as the filling between the two layers of the white cake and made a simple frosting. I probably could have made a cake in a tube pan, heated the krem and used it like a glaze, and the cake was probably a bit more dense than what the krem is usually used with, but it was a delicious learning experience and next time, I’ll have a better idea of how to put the treat to good use.

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