Wednesday 26 April 2023

Dutch King's Day Tompuce

In the Netherlands, April 27 is a national holiday celebrating the king's birthday - King's Day. To mark the occasion many people hold or visit flea markets (it's the one day of the year street sales are allowed without applying for a permit); there are parties and events, people wear orange - the national colour - and eat tompouce.

These are a pastry similar to a mille-feuille, but with one layer instead of two, consisting of a piece of crispy puff pastry, a layer of creme patissiere (pastry cream, often referred to as creme pat) and another piece of pastry, with royal icing spread on top. Normally the icing is pink but on King's Day, when these are popular, the icing is orange.

This King's Day I was invited to a party by a Dutch colleague and wanted to take something with me, and learned about tompouce via the internet (apparently they are named after a 19th century actor). I found out from my friend that he had been unable to find any tompouce in the UK, but that they are a lot like mille-feuille, which you can find in most bakeries - though probably without the orange layer on top. As he had only just moved to the UK a few months before I thought I would try to recreate a little taste of home!

I found a recipe for tompouce online - there are several but I used this one from My Red Kitchen and pretty much followed it step by step, but made the icing orange. It felt like I was doing a technical challenge from the Great British Bake Off - making something I'd never heard of before, that involved several steps (though I used ready-made puff pastry which would have been an automatic fail on GBBO!), and instructions like "cut each sheet [of pastry] into 16 equal squares". 

I may have made mine too big but having never seen a tompouce I'm not sure what size they are supposed to be, and they seemed on a par with mille-feuilles. I didn't know exactly how much gelatine to used just said 'one envelope gelatine' and referred to jell-o at the store which makes me think this is perhaps a standard size in the US. I had a packet with four leaves of gelatine remaining which it said was the right amount for one pint of liquid but the creme pat had already thickened quite a bit so I probably didn't need that much. Rather than using a piping bag I was able to actually slice it (as I'd let it set in a large shallow rectangular dish), which I thought was quite handy at the time but in retrospect it doesn't look great and I should have piped it. Still, they tasted pretty good!

1 comment:

  1. i think they look good enough to eat.


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