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Juicy sponge cake, delicate caramel-flavored buttercream, crunchy walnuts and sweet chocolate icing are combined in the Russian tarts “Little stairs” from the Soviet era. Creamy, soft, nutty, caramel, chocolatey and incredibly delicious they taste. But not only taste convince the tarts. Their appearance in the form of staircases with many layers is magical. And the sweet “Little stairs” are also easy to make. You can find a detailed recipe for the Soviet tarts “Little stairs” with exact quantities and step-by-step instructions here at the very bottom.
“Stairs” to a great socialist future?
The tarts “Little stairs” still come from the Soviet Union. Why did they get that shape and appropriate name? Maybe they should have been a symbol of the stairs to a great socialist future?! Whatever the reason, in the end they came out a delicious dessert that looks good enough to eat. So let’s just enjoy it without philosophizing about the background! Or what do you think?
What are the tarts “Little stairs” made of?
Soviet tarts consist of two layers of sponge cake. The sponge cake dough is prepared with a little water, so that after baking it tastes very juicy and soft. The cream for the “Little stairs” consists of butter, caramelized sweetened condensed milk and roasted walnuts. It tastes creamy, nutty, a little caramelling and is aromatic thanks to roasted nuts. Covered are the tarts “Little stairs” with chocolate icing made of milk chocolate. Under the glaze are hidden large walnut pieces, which provide a great taste surprise.
Delicious eye-catcher – easy to make
In the form of small sweet little stairs, the tarts on the dining table are guaranteed to attract all the attention of your guests. The multiple layers that make them up also look scrumptious. In terms of taste, Russian tarts “Little stairs” are a hit. They combine so many flavors that they provide a taste explosion with every little piece you put in your mouth. Plus, the recipe for the “Little stairs” is very simple. All you have to do is bake the sponge, whip the cream briefly, shape the tartlets and cover them with chocolate icing.
For dessert during the week or for a party
With their pretty appearance, the tarts “Little stairs” are ideal for serving at a party. For example, you can serve them at a birthday or Christmas party. Since Russian tarts are easy to make, they are also perfect for dessert after a weekday meal. You can also enjoy them on the weekend with coffee or tea in the company of your loved ones.
The tarts “Little stairs” are
- with walnuts,
- with caramel buttercream,
- with sponge cake base,
- an eye-catcher on the dining table,
- easy to prepare from common ingredients,
- perfect for a party or for coffee, tea during the week,
- a sweet jewel from the Soviet Union.
How to make tarts “Little stairs”: the recipe
The exact quantities and step-by-step instructions for making the Russian tarts “Little stairs” yourself can be found here below in the box recipe.
For the recipe you need only ordinary ingredients. For the sponge cake you need
- and some water.
For the cream you need only
- caramelized sweetened condensed milk
- and walnuts.
The butter has to be soft. So get it out of the fridge about 30 minutes beforehand and leave it at room temperature. The walnuts for the cream should first be toasted and then chopped.
Then you need for the chocolate glaze
- milk chocolate
- and vegetable oil.
For the sugar syrup you need
- and alternatively some rum or cognac.
Also add walnut pieces, which will be placed on the tarts under the chocolate icing.
How to make tarts “Little stairs”: this is how you proceed
- For the sponge cake, beat eggs and sugar, fold in flour and then stir in water. Spread the sponge dough evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 180 °C for about 15 minutes. Then let cool and cut into two equal parts.
- For the sugar syrup, briefly boil water with sugar, let cool and mix in rum or cognac. Soak the two sponge cake layers with the sugar syrup.
- For the cream, whip butter and caramelized sweetened condensed milk and then mix in walnuts.
- Spread the two sponge cakes with the cream, stack them on top of each other and refrigerate for a few hours. Cut the “cake” into three equal strips and cut one of the three strips again into two equal strips. Place the narrower strips from one side on top of the wider ones.
- For the chocolate icing, melt milk chocolate and mix with vegetable oil. Place morsels of walnut pieces on the two top cake strips and pour the chocolate glaze over the two “cakes”. Let the icing dry and then cut the “cakes” into small tarts. Done!
How to make tarts “Little stairs”: with these tips and tricks you will succeed
- Use good quality milk chocolate for the chocolate glaze.
- You should roast walnuts beforehand so that they become aromatic.
- Carefully fold the flour into the egg-sugar mixture so that the dough remains airy and rises during baking. You should also carefully add water to the sponge mixture.
- To check whether the sponge cake is baked, do a chopstick test. Insert a toothpick briefly into the center of the sponge and see if it stays clean after being removed. Alternatively, you can test whether the sponge cake is baked as follows: press a finger gently on the surface of the sponge cake in the center. If it springs back after pressing and no traces remain to be seen, it is ready.
- Caramelized sweetened condesmilk can be found in some supermarkets, Russian stores or online.
- You can omit alcohol in the sugar syrup.
- Store the tarts “Little stairs” in the refrigerator. They can be kept for about 5 days.
Fancy some more delicious Soviet-era pastries? Try also:
- Puff pastry horns with Italian meringue – taste highlight from the Soviet era
- Choux pastry rings with curd – Russian curd rings with French background
Russian tarts "Little stairs"
for the sponge dough
- 5 eggs
- 100 g sugar
- 125 g flour
- 20 ml water
- 1 pinch of salt
for the cream
- 150 g walnuts (roasted and finely chopped)
- 150 g caramelized sweetened condensed milk
- 250 g butter (room temperature)
for the chocolate glaze
- 250 g milk chocolate
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- approx. 40 g walnut pieces (roasted)
for the sugar syrup
- 20 g sugar
- 20 ml water
- 20 ml rum or cognac
Preparation of sponge cake dough
- Beat eggs, sugar and salt to a fluffy white mixture.
- Fold in flour to make an airy, thick dough.
- Add water and stir gently until the dough regains a homogeneous consistency.
- Spread the sponge cake dough evenly, thinly on the entire baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake it in a preheated oven at 180 °C for about 15 minutes. Let the sponge cake cool down afterwards.
Preparation of the sugar syrup
- Put water and sugar in a small saucepan and boil it briefly, stirring constantly. The sugar must have dissolved before boiling. Let the sugar syrup cool down.
- Add rum or cognac to the sugar syrup and stir.
Preparation of the cream
- Beat softened butter together with caramelized sweetened condensed milk for about 4 - 5 minutes until creamy.
- Add roasted and finely chopped walnuts and stir to a homogeneous cream.
Preparation of the "cakes"
- Cut the sponge cake into two equal-sized cake layers (parallel to the shorter side) and soak them with sugar syrup.
- Spread the two sponge cake layers with the cream, stack them on top of each other and chill the "cake" for a few hours so that the cream sets.
- Cut the "cake" into three equal strips (parallel to the shorter side) and cut one of the three strips again into two equal strips, so that you end up with two wider and two narrower strips (see the pictures at the top of the post).
- Place the two narrower cake strips on top of the wider strips from one side at a time.
Preparation of the chocolate icing
- Melt milk chocolate and mix it with vegetable oil.
- Make four morsels of walnut pieces equally spaced on each top cake strip (see pictures in the post).
- Pour the chocolate frosting over the two "cakes" and let the frosting dry.
- Cut each "cake" into four equally spaced tarts so that the walnut morsels are placed on top under the chocolate frosting in the center of each tart.
- Use good quality milk chocolate for the chocolate frosting.
- Alcohol can be omitted from the sugar syrup.
- The time to cool the sponge, the "cake" and to dry the chocolate icing is not included in the preparation time.
- Note the detailed tips and tricks for baking the tarts "Little stairs" at the top of the post.