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Beesting Pastries

A classic confection from Germany, known as “Bienenstich Kuchen”, turned into decorative pastries. The crunchy nutty caramel topping contrasts well with the rich and creamy custard filling!

According to Wikipedia: “the cake may have earned its name from its honey topping: according to one legend, a bee was attracted to the cake and the baker who invented the cake was stung”. 

Prep time       30 minutes plus rising time
Cook time      ± 20 minutes
Yields              24 small pastries

Pastry
1¾ cups (400 ml) cake flour
1 sachet instant yeast (8 to 10 g)
½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
1/3 cup (75 ml) sugar
2/3 cups (175 ml) lukewarm milk
1/3 cup (85 ml / 75 g) butter
1 large egg
½ tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla essence
± ½ cup (125 ml) additional flour

Caramel and Nut Topping
1/3 cup (85 ml / 75 g) butter
1/3 cup (85 ml) cream
½ cup (125 ml) sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) honey or syrup
1 cup (250 ml / 100 g) sliced (flaked) almonds
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla essence

Custard Filling
1/3 cup (75 ml) custard powder
2 Tbsp (30 ml) cornflour
1/3 cup (75 ml) sugar
good pinch salt
2 cups (500 ml) milk
1 cup (250 ml) cream (added after cooling)

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the additional flour in a mixing bowl and beat well. Add sufficient of the extra flour to form a soft dough and knead only until smooth. Cover and allow to rise in a mildly warm spot until doubled (30 minutes).
  2. While the dough is rising, prepare the custard for the filling. Combine all the ingredients except the cream in a large jug and microwave 3 minutes on High until the custard starts to thicken. Beat well and microwave until the very thick custard becomes bubbly. Beat well and allow to cool and refrigerate until quite cold before completing the filling with the added cream.
  3. While dough is rising, also place all the ingredients for the topping into a small saucepan and stir over moderate heat until syrupy. Simmer the topping for 5 minutes and set aside to cool slightly before using.
  4. Grease 24 cups of two medium size muffin tins with butter. Knead down the dough and divide into 24 portions (± golf ball size). Pinch off balls or roll into a strand and cut and adjust the portions until there are 24 even sized portions.
  5. Place the balls into the muffin cups as you go and with the fingertips flatten the top. Allow to rise for 10 to 15 minutes until doubled.
  6. While the dough is rising prepare the filling. custard and allow to cool. Place the ingredients for the topping into a small saucepan and bring to boil over moderate heat, stirring. Allow to simmer at least 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes syrupy. Cool to lukewarm.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180ºC while the pastries are rising. With the fingertips, make a small hollow on top of the risen pastries and divide the topping between the pastries. Bake 18 – 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Cool a few minutes and remove to a cooling rack. Do not cool in the tins as the topping will harden and make them stick
  8. To complete the filling, add the cream to the cold firm custard and beat with an electric beater or blend with a stick blender until completely smooth.
  9. Cut the cold pastries in half horizontally and pipe or spread the custard filling over the base. Cover with the top layers and serve or refrigerate until required.

Notes

  • The recipe will make about 24 small pastries – if the balls are slightly larger and a few less pastries are made it will not matter at all.
  • The filled pastries will keep well if refrigerated for up to 4 days.
  • The baked pastries without custard filling freeze well to thaw and fill when required. To freeze half of the pastries and fill only half, cook half of the filling.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking Recipe Book p. 851.