Papieska Kremowka Summer beery


Setting the Table

In 1999, Pope John Paul II returned to his hometown of Wadowice, Poland. He mentioned how fond he was of the cream cake that he and his school friends had often put their funds into buying after school. He and his friends would go to the Hagenhuber Bakery and pick out one or two cream cakes, which is where the love affair with the dessert began. People heard him talk about how fond he was of it as a child when he came back to visit as the pope, so the next day people brought him the cake, which was then named “Papal Cream Cake”. Before it went high-profile, kremowka started out as ingredients that were unsold from that day. Egg yolks were too expensive to just throw away, so a careful Polish baker would make up a cake with the custard cream. It started to become more popular so one of the smart Polish bakers started making it on purpose, which is how Pope John Paul II found out about it. The version of kremowka, which has become a standard for the Polish bakers is very simple. It is two sheets of baked puff pastry on top and bottom (European Cuisines, 2018). The pastry cream is milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, cornstarch, egg yolks beaten, and garnished with powdered sugar (Rolek, 2019). Now, on its home turf in Poland, Gellwe markets a kremowka mix (European Cuisines, 2018). Gellwe is a brand in Poland that includes an assortment of desserts, cake mixes, baking ingredients, tea granules, and other kitchen accessories. It is owned by the Polish company, FoodCare Poland, which then translates to the brand name, Gellwe (Word finder, 2019). For Pope John Paul II, papieska kremowka was just eaten when he wanted something sweet, which was not very often as he had to watch what he ate (Meissen, 2011).

To prepare for the dish, I just need to buy all of the ingredients. The only part of the dish that I am unsure of is the egg yolks because I have not had very many experiences with cracking the egg and then just keeping the yolk. When I cook eggs, I usually just cook the whole egg, but this time will be different as the recipe only calls for the egg yolks. I am sure it will be a messy process for me as I will have to get the egg yolk away from the rest of the egg and it will be very slimy! The only problem that I may anticipate would be having the pastry cream become too cold and not be poured hot over the puff pastry, but I will just need to watch carefully. This dish is important because it was Saint Pope John Paul II’s favorite dish and he is a very important person in Catholic Christianity. I was attracted to this dish because it is a Catholic dish and that is my religion. I also thought it looked very good and something new to bake that I can bring to the next family gathering! This dish should be considered a religious significance of the Catholic history as it was Saint Pope John Paul II’s favorite dessert. He was a very significant person in the Catholic Church, as he went from a bishop, to an archbishop, to a cardinal, then to pope, and now is a saint. He was also influential to many as he was a vocal advocate for human rights by speaking out about suffering in the world (John Paul II biography, 2019). People that are religious like to find these facts and make the dishes to feel some kind of religious feeling towards the person. I think many people make this dessert because it was Saint Pope John Paul II’s favorite dessert in the world! It came from scratch and then became a traditional dish when Saint Pope John Paul II spoke about how it became such a special dish to him growing up as a child. I think people can also use this as an inspiration.


Nutrition Facts

Wadowice, Poland, Saint Pope John Paul II's hometown.


Papieska Kremowka, also known as Papal Cream Cake or Napoleonaka, originated from Pope John Paul II’s hometown of Wadowice, Poland. Papieska Kremowka started out as a way for a smart baker to sell his or hers extra or unsold ingredients that was left over at the end of the day. Sometimes the bakers would end up with unsold plain sheet cakes, shortcrust pastries, and sometimes even pastry cream, which is also called custard cream or creme pastissiere. The pastry cream is full of egg yolks and that was too expensive to throw away, so the bakers would improvise sandwiches of pastry cream and cake. The sandwiches were very cheap, which is how Pope John Paul II could afford them when he was a child. The love affair began when him and his school friends would go to Hagenhuber’s Bakery after school and pick out one or two cream cakes (European Cuisines, 2018).

In 1999, Pope John Paul II returned to his hometown and had to have a Papieksa Kremowka! After mentioning how fond he is and was of the cream cake, people began bringing him the cake, which then turned the cake name into “Papal Cream Cake” and that is when it became famous! Someone then started to make the sheet cakes and pastry cream on purpose and sell it by the square piece. From then on, the cream cake has become a standard dish for the Polish Bakers, especially for birthday cakes (European Cuisines, 2018). For Pope John Paul II, the cream cake was just eaten when he wanted something sweet (Meissen, 2011).

Pope John Paul II left a legacy behind when he passed away in April of 2005. First, Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in more than four hundred years. He was a vocal advocate for human rights by speaking out about suffering in the world (John Paul II biography, 2019). He held very strong positions on many topics. The top eight ways he changed the world are that he played a pivotal role in ending communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, dealt lethal blows to many dictatorships, made the Church’s relationship to other religions change forever in a positive way, started Christian unity, brought the Gospel to more people than anyone since Saint Peter, invented World Youth Day, made the papacy become a voice that matters in the world, and he gave a bold example of uncompromising leadership (Mazurczak, 2016). Lastly, Pope John Paul II possessed love to everyone. For example, the breathtaking encounter that took place in a grimy Roman jail cell in December of 1983. Pope John Paul II sat down with the man who fired bullets at him only a year and a half before. He spoke to him, embraced him, listened to him, and forgave him. As Thomas Aquinas remind us, “this is why the love of one’s enemies- those who are not disposed to wish us well- is the great test of love,” (Barron, 2014). “Saints exist, not for themselves, but for the church. They are models and intercessors for the rest of us here below,” (Barron, 2014). On July 5, 2013, the Vatican announced that Pope John Paul II would be declared a saint (John Paul II biography, 2019).

Saint Pope John Paul II was influential and encouraging to everyone, not just his fellow Catholics. I truly believe that he made a difference in many lives, even the ones he did not meet. From stopping dictators to enjoying a piece of cream cake in his hometown, he was a great example to follow. The meaning of Papieska Kremowka is not really in the dish, it is the history of how Saint Pope John Paul II went from a school aged child who grew into a bishop of Ombi, an archbishop of Krakow, a cardinal, a pope, and now a saint (John Paul II biography, 2019).

After researching Papieksa Kremowka and Saint Pope John Paul II, I believe this dish is linked to the elements of individual well-being, social justice, environmental justice, and religious freedom. All four of these elements continue to link back to Saint Pope John Paul II because Papieska Kremowka resembles him. First, this dish is linked to well-being because from a young child to his later days in life, Saint Pope John Paul II always returned back to his hometown to have a piece of the Papieska Kremowka that he enjoyed as a child. This dish brought joy to him and many more before and after he announced how fond he was of it. When he announced how fond of the dish he was, everyone smothered him with generosity by giving him the dish. He brought joy to others by introducing them to this delicious dish. Secondly, social justice goes along with the well-being of this dish because it was wealthily distributed since the price of the dish was very low from the product being unsold or extra. Also, everyone today has the opportunity and privilege to share this delicious cream cake. I am not sure about when Saint Pope John Paul II was a child because of the disputes and wars going on, but it was available for a very cheap price. Third, environmental justice is really in the ingredients of the dish since this started out as extra or unsold ingredients that was left over at the end of the day. The bakers could have thrown away the extra or unsold ingredients, but decided to furnish them and make them useful, which turned into a famous cream cake! Lastly, religious freedom is a very large part of this dish as it is available to everyone in the world. Everyone is able to make the dish, even though it is well known because of the Pope, which is naturally followed by the Catholic faith. This dish also has a history behind it, which makes it very meaningful to make.

In conclusion, Papieksa Kremowka, Papal Cream Cake, or Napoleonaka is a very well known dish because of the great and generous Saint Pope John Paul II. He advanced this dish from being a cheap, unsold product to a famous, delicious cream cake. I am very excited to make this dish as it is a resemblance of my own religion and Saint Pope John Paul II!


Kitchen Time

To prepare for my dish I looked in my own kitchen to see what ingredients I had and if I needed to buy any. What was unique about this dish was that I did not have to buy any extra or different ingredients that would not normally be in a house. When I say a “normal” house, I mean a house that would have flour in the cupboard or eggs in the fridge. A house that would have the foods that are used for many types of cooking or baking. I had all of the ingredients at my house, so I just had to have a time frame to make it. Since there was flooding over some roads and I did not have to work on Thursday of spring break, I decided to ask my brother to help me make my Papieska Kremowka so that he could get an idea of what it was and also help me document it. So that day my brother, Ace, and I got all of the ingredients out to make the cake portion. We had to get the butter, flour, eggs, and salt out. I started by turning the oven on to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and spraying the two nine-inch pans. Ace and I then mixed the butter and flour together with a blender. After using the blender, I decided it was not a very good idea as the mixture of the flour and butter stuck to the blender. The mixture was very sticky and a yellowish color. We then broke the eggs and filtered the egg yolks out with a strainer. We put the egg yolks in a separate bowl and then added the water. The egg yolks were not easy to just get them by themselves so we decided to use the strainer. Getting the egg yolks away from the egg whites was a bit difficult for Ace and I. We kind of made a mess with the first one since we had never split the two apart. Then we evaluated what we were doing by deciding to put a large cup under the strainer so that the egg whites could go through the strainer into the cup. We then would just have to get the egg yolks from the strainer to transfer to the separate bowl with water. After mixing the two bowls of ingredients together, we divided the cake ingredients into two nine-inch pans so that there could be a top layer and bottom layer to the Papieska Kremowka. The cake now needed to bake for 30 minutes.

While the cake part was cooking, Ace and I got all of the ingredients out for the custard cream. The ingredients we had to get out were milk, vanilla extract, and sugar. We already had the flour, salt, and eggs out from making the cake. First we had to scald the milk and vanilla together on the stove. Vanilla extract has such a wonderful smell, but scalding the milk kind of smelt like a burnt mixture. While that was getting hot, we combined the sugar, flour, salt, and egg yolks. We did the same routine as before for these egg yolks. We then blended them together very well by a whisk to make sure there were no lumps. After this was mixed together and the milk and vanilla were done being scalded, we add them together. I also think maybe the burnt smell was that the milk and vanilla got a little too done as I was trying to do both mixtures at the same time. The mixture was very thick and a yellow color because of the egg yolks. After being whisked together, I turned on the low flame and then stirred the ingredients constantly. It was then brought to a boil and after boiling for three minutes, I removed it from the heat and poured it into a bowl. Ace and I then took turns stirring the custard cream so that the heat could be let out and the cream could get colder. While the cream was trying to get colder and the heat was getting out, the mixture started to grow larger and the cream became super thick. The cream did not really have any smell to it. To me, it has very plain ingredients and ended up being a very thick, yellow cream.

After making the custard cream, 30 minutes was up and the cake part was done. I took the two pans out and let them cool for a while. When the cake part came out, it smelled just like plain sugar cookies, except this cake didn’t have any sugar in it. The smell was very bland and not the best. After the two cake parts cooled and the cream had cooled off, Ace and I put one of the cakes down and then put the custard cream on top to cover the whole part. The custard cream was very thick and then we added the other cake to make it look like a sandwich. I then dusted the top with confectioners’ sugar. I decided to cut the pieces into little servings as the cake was pretty crummy.

After cutting pieces for everyone, I then gave some to my family members to try. I thought it was okay as the Papieska Kremowka was very plain and to me, it tasted just like flour. Maybe the flour did not bake as it should have and did not settle in the mixture enough as the taste was very apparent. It also smelled like flour and the taste was exactly like flour, so not the best. My mom, dad, sister, and brother did not enjoy it and said Summer I am sorry, but this is disgusting! I laughed and then saved one piece for my grandpa and then threw the rest away since everyone said it was bad. Well then my grandpa said he liked it and likes that stuff. I had already thrown it in the garbage so it was too late, but he got to try it at least. In the end my dish was certainly not what I expected and was truly not very good, but I did learn how to cook with just the egg yolks and I got to enjoy an afternoon with my brother.

This is at the beginning when I was preparing to make the cake part of the Papieska Kremowka. This is all of the ingredients for the cake and the two nine-inch pans are laid out also so that they were ready to be used.

I was spraying one of the pans so that the cake ingredients did not stick to the pan when I was ready to pull the cake out.

This is the two sticks of butter that was used to make the cake part of the dish.

I was using the mixer to blend the flour and butter together.

After that, I cracked the eggs into the strainer one at a time to get the egg yolks away from the egg whites. This was then put into a different bowl that the flour and butter were in.

Ace helped me with the mixture of the flour and butter. As you can see, the blender got a little submerged with the mixture so it worked better just mixing it by hand.

After mixing the two bowls of ingredients together, we separated them and put the ingredients in the two pan. In this photo we are smashing the cake down so that it is spread all across the pan.

After smashing the cake down, I put both pans in the oven for thirty minutes.

After the cake was in the oven, I scalded the milk and vanilla, which is pictured above. This was the first step in making the custard cream. As you can see, this is when it was scolded because of the bubbles on top.

Ace actually had the idea of using the strainer to strain the egg whites away from the egg yolks. After scalding the milk, this was the next step in the mixture of making the custard cream.

After straining out the egg whites, this is the egg yolks. I may not have been the best at getting the egg whites out, so maybe that was part of the taste problem in the end results.

This is the rest of the mixture of the custard cream.

Ace and I then mixed the egg yolks with the rest of the mixture. I used a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together.

After adding the scalded milk and vanilla extract under the lite stove, this is what the custard cream looked like.

I then poured the custard cream into a bowl once the cream was fully boiled for three minutes. Pouring the cream into a bowl, helped make the cream colder and remove the heat.

The two pans of cake were then done cooking after 30 minutes. This is a picture of the color of the cake.

This is also a picture of the cake from the door outside of the oven when it was done.

After the cake was done, I let them cool off of the stove and also the cream is sitting there cooling off. I used that spoon to stir the cream to get the heat out of it.

After letting the two cool, I put one of the cake sheets down, then put the custard cream in the middle, and then put the other cake sheet on top with the confectioners’ sugar for looks.

Another picture of the finished product.

After cutting the Papieska Kremowka, this is what it looked like. The two pieces of sheet cakes with the custard cream in the middle. The cakes were very thick and then the cream is pretty thick. It looks great, but does not taste that great! The taste was very floury and bland. It did not have a taste that made the pastry “pop” and make it unique. I think it was such a bitter flour taste as it did not have ingredients to make it sweet. Tasting the pastry was like I but a dry piece of bread in my mouth that was not moist and it did not have any flavor.


Disagreements about the evaluation of the ethical viability of Papieska Kremowka


Well Being

For Papieska Kremowka, the well being of the dish can be ethically looked at in the sense of the ingredients in the dish and the actual taste. Papieska Kremowka includes butter, milk, and flour (European Cuisines, 2018). If someone is lactose intolerant, then they should stay away from butter and milk. This dish would not be suitable for them to eat. Lactose intolerance indicates that the person cannot digest a certain sugar in milk and milk products called lactose. This condition is not specifically harmful; it can just cause discomfort, like gas, bloating, and diarrhea (WebMD, 2019). Also, if someone has to be on a gluten-free diet, they need to stay away from flour, which is one of the main ingredients in Papieska Kremowka. To be gluten-free, people have to avoid wheat and some other grains. If someone that needs to be gluten-free accidently consumes flour, they could get sick with such medical conditions, like celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia, or wheat allergy (Mayo Clinic, 2019). Another ethical issue is the taste of the dish. In my opinion, this dish tasted very plain and disgusting because it tasted like flour. In today’s society, we are all use to sweet dishes and this is the opposite, plain. These three ethical issues for Papieska Kremowka can be serious for some people that are either lactose intolerant or needing to be gluten-free. The well-being of this dish indicates that it is not for everyone to eat. I agree that it is not for everyone to eat because if someone is lactose intolerant, gluten-free, or just likes sweet foods, this dish is not for them and I would not want them to get sick.

Social Justice

The social justice of this dish can be put into different terms, including household appliances and the animals that have to be harmed in order to make this dish. According to the World Bank in 2010, 1.2 billion people were still living without electricity and 173 million of those people were living in urban areas (Badger, 2013). This indicates that for some people, this dish will not be applicable to make since a stove is needed to bake the cake mixture. Also, in order to make this dish, butter, milk, and eggs are needed for the ingredients (European Cuisines, 2018). Butter and milk are made from cows and the cows have to be milked. The eggs are from chickens, which the chickens lay the eggs. Eating butter, milk, and eggs can be a problem for some people as they do not eat anything that comes from animals. A concrete example of why some people have a problem with eating anything that comes from animals is from Turnbull (2017) who believes that chickens are hurt when they lay eggs because a hen, which is the type of chicken that lays the eggs, can only lay eggs for 2 years and after that, the hen is sent off to the slaughterhouse and made into chicken for people to eat. Turnbull believes this is not right and hens should not be having to lay eggs as a regular chicken can live for 14 years if not having to lay eggs (Turnbull, 2017). In my opinion, it is okay for hens to lay eggs because that is what they do. Maybe the unethical part of laying eggs is how people expect them to have so many and then that burns the hen out, which is why they are only good for 2 years. To conclude this section, I believe it is okay for hens to lay eggs, we the people just need to let them do it in their natural state. I also do agree that one of the worst case scenarios for social justice would be not be able to bake the dish if you do not have any electricity. As stated above, people do not have electricity all the time, which would indicate that they would not be able to make Papieska Kremowka. On the other hand, I do not agree that animals are harmed in the making of the ingredients for this dish. Butter and milk are made from the milk produced from a cow. The cow does not die for this process; therefore, the animal is not being harmed. For the chickens, the hen is laying the egg, they also do not die for the eggs.

Environmental Justice

The environmental justice of this dish includes the distribution process and when people get the ingredients from the store, instead of using the ingredients that are left over from that day. The distribution of the ingredients usually has to be transported to the destination in some way. Transportation usually releases gases into the air, which is not good for humans to breath or for the earth. The climate of the earth’s atmosphere is changing and 27% of the United States greenhouse gas emissions are from transportation use (Environmental Protection Agency, 2017). Also, people may buy ingredients from the store, instead of using the left over ingredients from that day’s baking. If ingredients are there and will not be used, it is unethical to throw the left over ingredients away. It is not good for the environment, as 1.3 billion tons gets lost or wasted in the landfill (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2019). For environmental justice, I actually agree with the statements of distribution and going to the store instead of using left over ingredients from that day because this happens on a regular basis in the United States. People are wasting food too much and food waste needs to be limited. By using the left over ingredients, little or no food will be wasted.

Religious Freedom

There are not many religious freedom characteristics for this dish as it is primarily famous because of Saint Pope John Paul II. Religious freedom could be unethical for this dish in the sense of the dish being exclusively for people that like the pope. For example, someone that does not follow the pope, may not know this was his favorite dish or someone that does not agree with the pope, may not want to like something that the pope likes. To conclude the religious freedom section, I do agree that someone that is not religious may be offended if this dish is specifically known for the religious aspect. This dish is only popular because of Saint Pope John Paul II and some people in the world may not like that because it is not their religion or belief.

Just Desserts


The reason that I picked to research and bake Papieska Kremowka was that it was marked on many websites to be the top five famous Catholic dishes. I thought that if it was one of the most famous dishes, that it would be a good dish to bake for my family since we are Catholic. After making Papieska Kremowka, I feel like my relationship to Catholic food has become strange because I did not enjoy the taste of my dish. This dish was something that I would not normally eat as it had no flavoring and was not sweet. It showed me that the food I normally eat is probably not as healthy as this one because most of the time my dishes are sweet and salty. This dish was the opposite, it was very plain and tasted like flour to me. Since this dish was completely new to me I was hoping it was going to be good because I had spent some time making the Papieska Kremowka with my brother. I also wanted to be able to share it with my family, which I did, but they all thought it was not very good. They actually said that it was disgusting. The religious significance of this dish is from Saint Pope John Paul II. He is a part of the Catholic religion and that is the religion that I grew up with. I wanted to make a dish to share with my family at different religious events, like Easter or Christmas, but after trying it I do not think I will be sharing it. Religion does not have a significance to the ingredients, this dish is just considered religious from Saint Pope John Paul II. I have never really eaten any dishes that are specifically to the Catholic religion so this was very new to me.



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