Crispy, moist, tender, aromatic and incredibly delicious are the Krakow slices, which were once very popular in the former Soviet Union. They consist of a fluffy shortbread and a nutty almond dough, which together make a heavenly treat. And even though the Krakow slices have now disappeared from the shelves of Russian stores, you can easily make them yourself at home. A detailed Krakow slices recipe with exact quantities and step-by-step instructions can be found below.
What are Krakow slices made of?
The Krakow slices consist of two layers. The bottom layer is a tender, fluffy shortbread. The top layer is an almond dough. When baked, it tastes crispy on the outside, moist and soft on the inside and is very aromatic. The shortbread and the almond dough combine perfectly with each other in terms of taste and make for an irresistibly delicious taste experience.
Inconspicuous, but incredibly tasty
Visually, the Krakow slices are nothing special and tend to get lost next to korzinochki, eclairs and puff pastry horns at a Soviet pastry counter. But the appearance is deceiving with this pastry. And after the first bite you will notice it. Because in terms of taste, the Krakow slices are an explosion of aromatic, crunchy, moist almond dough combined with tender, fluffy shortbread. You simply have to try them to realize that they taste much more delicious than you can imagine.
Rather rare pastry from the Soviet era
While many Soviet tarts and cakes could be bought almost everywhere in Russia at that time, the Krakow slices as well as the hazelnut cake “Zhuravushka” were rather rare. But if you were lucky and got the sweet slices, you enjoyed them to the fullest. In the meantime, Krakow slices have fallen into oblivion, and you can hardly find them in Russian bakeries anymore. How great that now you can easy make them yourself.
How to serve and store Krakow slices?
The Krakow slices have the consistency of delicious cookies – only much bigger. So you can easily snack on them in between meals. They are also perfect as an after-dinner dessert with coffee or tea. Store the almond shortbread pastry in an airtight container, such as a lunch box, in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for quite a long time. You can enjoy the Krakow slices for about 1 week. They will be just as delicious in the next few days as they are right after baking, only moister and a little less crispy – just like regular shortbread cookies are.
This almond shortbread pastry is
easy and quick to make from common ingredients,
perfect for snacking instead of cookies or for dessert with coffee, tea,
Classic from the former Soviet Union.
Krakow slices recipe
You can find the exact quantities and step-by-step instructions to make the Krakow slices yourself here below in the box recipe.
The recipe for the Krakow slices is easy. The making is also quick. You just have to make the two doughs, namely the shortbread and the almond dough, place them on top of each other and bake. However, you should allow enough time for the slices to dry before baking.
For the shortbread you need butter, sugar, egg yolk, flour, baking powder and vanilla. Butter and egg yolks must be at room temperature. For the almond dough you need almonds. They must be finely chopped or ground and roasted. You can either roast whole almonds yourself in a pan or in the oven and then finely chop them or buy already roasted and ground almonds. You will also need egg whites, sugar and flour for the almond dough. And that’s it.
How to make Krakow slices: this is how it works
For the shortbread, briefly beat soft butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the egg yolks and beat until creamy and fluffy. Add flour with baking powder and knead briefly and quickly to a very soft dough. Roll out the dough on baking paper to a square about 0.5 cm thick and bake at 200 °C for about 10 minutes.
For the almond dough, beat egg whites until stiff, fold in sugar and almonds. Place the mixture in a saucepan and heat to 70 – 80 °C, stirring constantly. Then remove from heat and quickly stir in flour. Immediately spread the almond dough evenly on the shortbread and let it dry for about 1 hour until it is no longer sticky on the surface.
Cut the “cake” into slices and bake the slices at 160 °C for about 20 minutes. Done!
How to make Krakow slices: with these tips and tricks you will succeed
Traditionally, the Krakow slices are made with almonds. However, you can also use any other nuts. It is important that they are roasted, so that the pastry becomes aromatic.
You can either roast whole almonds (or nuts) yourself and then finely chop them, or buy already roasted and ground almonds (or nuts).
You should heat the almond-egg white mixture slowly, stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn. If a layer of starch forms on the bottom of the saucepan during this process, it’s not a problem. To heat the mixture to the right temperature, use a kitchen thermometer.
Work quickly with the almond dough, as it will set quickly when it cools and will be difficult to spread on the shortbread base.
The butter and egg yolks for the shortbread must be at room temperature. So get them out of the fridge ahead of time.
You can use vanilla sugar, vanilla powder, vanilla extract or vanilla bean scraped out as vanilla for the shortcrust pastry.
To give the shortbread the right consistency, add flour in batches, a little at a time. The amount of flour given here in the recipe may vary. The dough must be very soft, not sticky and not too firm.
Do not knead the shortbread for too long, but only briefly and quickly, using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula first and only at the end with your hands.
Do not bake the shortbread base too long, as it will be baked again later together with the almond dough. As soon as its surface has a light yellow color, it is ready.
Did you make the Krakow slices according to this recipe? I’m looking forward to your result, your star rating and your comment below on how you liked the almond shortbread pastry.
Fancy more popular sweet pastries from the Soviet era? Also try:
Crispy, moist, tender, aromatic and incredibly delicious are the Krakow slices, which were once very popular in the former Soviet Union. They consist of a fluffy shortbread and a nutty almond dough, which together make a heavenly treat. And even though the Krakow slices have disappeared from the shelves of Russian stores, you can easily make them yourself at home using this recipe.
Beat soft butter, sugar, vanilla and salt briefly until homogeneous.
Add the egg yolks and beat until creamy and fluffy.
Mix flour with baking powder, add it in portions, little by little to the egg yolk-butter-sugar mixture and knead it quickly and briefly, first with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula and at the end with your hands to a very soft dough.
Roll out the dough on a sheet of baking paper about 0.5 cm thick to a square about 20 cm x 25 cm.
Pull the dough on the sheet of baking paper onto a baking sheet, pierce it in several places with a fork and bake it in a preheated oven at 200 °C top and bottom heat for about 10 minutes until it turns a light yellow color.
Preparation of the almond dough
Beat egg whites with salt until stiff.
Add sugar and ground or finely chopped almonds.
Put the almond egg white mixture into a saucepan and heat it over low heat to 70 - 80 °C, stirring constantly. (It took about 8 minutes for me. Also note my tips and tricks for this here at the top of the post).
Remove the almond egg white mixture from the heat and quickly fold in the flour.
Now briskly spread the still-hot almond dough (as long as it hasn't set yet) evenly over the shortbread base on the baking sheet and let it dry at room temperature for about 1 hour, until its surface is no longer sticky.
Cut the "cake" into 10 equal-sized slices, move them slightly apart on the baking sheet so that there is some space between them, and bake them in a preheated oven at 160 °C top and bottom heat for about 20 minutes.
Almonds can be substituted with any nuts. The important thing is that they are roasted, so that the pastry becomes aromatic.
Heat the almond and egg white mixture slowly, stirring constantly so that it does not burn. If a layer of starch forms on the bottom of the saucepan in the process, it's not a problem.
Work swiftly with the almond dough, because it quickly solidifies when it cools and then becomes difficult to spread on the shortbread base.
To give the shortbread the right consistency, add flour in portions, a little at a time. The amount of flour specified in the recipe may vary. The dough must be very soft, not sticky and not too firm.
Do not knead the shortbread for too long, but briefly and quickly, using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula first and then your hands at the end.
Do not bake the shortbread base without almond dough for too long. As soon as its surface gets a light yellow color, it is ready.
Note the detailed tips and tricks for making the Krakow slices at the top of the post.