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Crispy puff pastry and fluffy Italian meringue make a heavenly delicious combination, which is guaranteed that hardly anyone can resist. And that’s exactly what the sweet puff pastry cream horns are made of, which were very popular in the Soviet Union and offered in many pastry shops. Here I’ll show you how to make yourself this Soviet flavor highlight, which is also a hit on the outside. You can find a detailed recipe for the puff pastry horns with Italian meringue with exact quantities and step-by-step instructions here at the very bottom.
Sweet highlight for Soviet children
Every Soviet child back then probably had their favorite pastry that they just couldn’t walk past without buying, or bidding their parents for, and immediately snacking on – be it in a pastry shop, bakery, or school cafeteria. And the Soviet Union was rich in small sweet temptations that no one could resist. The puff pastry horns with Italian meringue were one of them. They tasted light, airy, crispy and so delicious that you had to buy one of them after standing in line for a while in one of the Soviet pastry shops.
Perfect combination of dough and filling
These horns are a perfect combination of the unsweetened, crispy puff pastry and the fairly sweet, light-as-air Italian meringue. This makes the pastry taste crispy tender, airy and not overly sweet. If you do want to sweeten the pastry a bit, you can dust the horns generously with powdered sugar after you’ve made them.
Merging of many international cuisines in one pastry
Probably there is no other Soviet pastry that combines so many international cuisines. The choux pastry, after all, is more of a French specialty. The cream with which the horns are filled is prepared according to the basic recipe for Italian meringue. Besides, the Russian sweet horns partly remind one of the famous German Schiller curls. This is also a pastry made of puff pastry in the form of horns, but it has a different filling. Schiller curls are filled with whipped cream, French meringue or even savory.
Buy puff pastry or make it yourself?
For this recipe, you can use either store-bought or homemade puff pastry. With the dough from the supermarket it is of course much faster. I think homemade puff pastry just tastes better, and prefer to make it myself for the horns. For this I use the quick and simplified puff pastry recipe, after which I also prepared my savory puff pastry bites with tomatoes. This puff pastry can be made in advance and frozen. That way, when you want to bake something with puff pastry – like these horns with Italian meringue – it’s ready to hand. If you’re making the dough yourself, you’ll first need to roll it out to about 3 mm thick and then cut it into strips. Be careful not to roll out the dough too thin, so that it tastes flaky after baking. If you have bought puff pastry, let it thaw first and then cut it directly into strips, because it is already rolled out.
Italian meringue – one of the most popular creams of the Soviet era
Along with vanilla cream and butter cream, Italian meringue was one of the most popular creams in the Soviet Union. It was used to fill many delicious tartlets that could be bought in Soviet pastry shops at that time. In addition to the sweet mini tart shells, there were also these airy puff pastry horns. The Italian meringue tastes airy, light, sweet and was not without reason a part of the most famous Soviet desserts.
Puff pastry horns with Italian meringue perfect for any celebration
The puff pastry horns with Italian meringue are not only heavenly delicious, but also an eye-catcher on the dining table. With them you will enchant your guests at any celebration. Make them for a birthday, Easter or Christmas, for example. The Italian meringue tolerates heat quite well, so the puff pastry horns can also be served at a summer party. You should store the sweet pastry in the refrigerator. It can be kept for about 2 – 3 days. If you store the horns too long, the Italian meringue will gradually dry out and become not so tender, but a bit hard on the outside.
Equipment for making the puff pastry horns with Italian meringue
To make the puff pastry horns you need stainless steel spiral croissants molds. There are such molds in different sizes. I had used 3.5 cm large and 14 cm long tainless steel spiral croissants molds. This resulted in 20 puff pastry horns. I had filled the pastry with a piping bag, on which I had put a star nozzle. If you want to fill the horns to the bottom with the cream, you can first take a long, thin piping bag and fill the bottom of each horn with the Italian meringue. Then put a star nozzle on the piping bag and fill the horns to the rim with it. Instead of a star-shaped nozzle, you can also use a round, Ø 8 mm perforated nozzle. The wider your horns are in diameter, the easier it is to fill them.
These horns are
- incredibly delicious,
- made of puff pastry,
- filled with Italian meringue,
- a classic from the Soviet era,
- easy and quick to bake from common ingredients,
- an eye-catcher on the dining table,
- perfect for dessert with coffee or tea,
- ideal for a party.
How to make puff pastry horns with Italian meringue: the recipe
The exact quantities and step-by-step instructions to make the puff pastry horns with Italian meringue yourself can be found here below in the box recipe.
The puff pastry horns recipe is very simple. The preparation is also quick, especially if you already have the puff pastry ready. Even though the Italian meringue recipe may sound complicated at first, it absolutely is not. And once you make the cream, you’ll quickly get a feel for when to start with which step. Plus, you’re sure to love the Italian meringue because it’s perfect for other tarts and desserts, too.
For the sweet horns you need puff pastry. You can make it yourself or buy it.
For the Italian meringue you will also need
- egg whites,
- and some citric acid powder.
Prepare puff pastry horns with Italian meringue: this is how it works
- Cut the puff pastry into long strips, wrap them in a spiral around the steel spiral croissants molds, bake at 210 °C for about 15 minutes and let cool.
- For the Italian meringue, dissolve sugar in water, bring to a boil, add citric acid and simmer until sugar syrup reaches 118 – 120 °C. In parallel, beat egg whites until foamy. Now slowly add the sugar syrup in a thin stream to the egg whites and beat for about 15 minutes.
- Fill the puff pastry horns with the Italian meringue. Done!
How to make the puff pastry horns with Italian meringue: tips and tricks
- You can use purchased or homemade puff pastry for the recipe.
- To make the horns you need stainless steel spiral croissants molds and to fill them – a piping bag.
- Do not wrap the puff pastry all the way around the edge of the steel spiral croissants mold, but leave a few millimeters of space around the edge. This makes it easier to remove the horns from the baking pan after baking.
- The puff pastry horns are ready when they have a golden brown color on top.
- Do not fill the puff pastry horns with Italian meringue while they are still hot.
This is how it works with Italian meringue:
- Proportions are the most important thing with this meringue. You should weigh all the ingredients exactly. Proceed as follows:
- Take 4 eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Set yolks aside, you don’t need them for this recipe.
- Weigh egg whites from 4 eggs.
- Now weigh twice as much sugar as you have egg whites.
- Divide the sugar amount by 3 and weigh out that much water.
I had taken 4 eggs size L. The egg white had weighed 140 g with me. Accordingly I had to take 280 g sugar and 93 ml water.
- Also the temperature of the sugar syrup, to which it must be cooked, is very important. The consistency of the Italian meringue depends on it. The temperature must not be lower than 118 °C and higher than 120 °C. To get the right temperature, it is best to use a kitchen thermometer.
- Add the sugar syrup to the egg whites slowly, in a thin stream, and never too quickly.
- The egg whites must be whipped to a froth when you add the sugar syrup. It should not be too little, so that it is not yet frothy, but it should not be too firm either.
- After you add the sugar syrup to the egg whites, it’s important to whip the cream really well. This will take about 15 minutes with the amounts listed in the recipe using a food processor on maximum speed. After adding the hot sugar syrup, the mixing bowl will be hot. When you’re done whipping, it barely needs to be warm. When you do this, the cream will get a very firm consistency.
- By the way, the Italian meringue is very good for decorating various cakes.
Video for the puff pastry horn recipe
On my Youtube channel you can find a short video for the puff pastry horns with Italian meringue. There you can see exactly how to make them yourself, especially how to cook the Italian meringue properly. If you don’t want to miss any more videos from me, feel free to subscribe to my channel.
Did you make the puff pastry horns with Italian meringue using this recipe? I look forward to hearing your results, your star rating, and your comment on the recipe below.
Fancy more popular sweet pastries from the Soviet era? Try also:
- Sochniki – recipe for popular curd cakes from the Soviet era
- Shortbread rings with peanuts – this is what Soviet childhood tasted like
- Choux pastry rings with curd – Russian curd rings with French background
Puff pastry horns with Italian meringue
- stainless steel spiral croissants molds
- piping bag with star nozzle
- 1200 g puff pastry (bought or homemade)
- vegetable oil (to grease the baking pans)
for the filling
- egg whites of 4 eggs (weigh, for me 140 g of eggs size L)
- approx. 280 g sugar (twice as much as egg white)
- approx. 93 ml water (1/3 of the sugar quantity)
- 1/4 tsp citric acid powder
- powdered sugar
- Roll out the puff pastry to a square about 0.3 cm thick if you are using homemade, or let the purchased pastry thaw. Cut the dough into strips about 5 cm wide and 35 cm long (or depending on the length of your baking pan).
- Brush the steel spiral croissants molds with vegetable oil and wrap them in a spiral with the dough strips, spread them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake them in a preheated oven at 210 °C for about 15 minutes until they turn golden brown. Let the puff pastry horns cool down afterwards and remove the baking pans from the horns.
Preparation of the Italian meringue
- Take egg whites from 4 eggs and weigh them. Now weigh out twice as much sugar as egg whites. Divide the amount of sugar by 3 and weigh out as much water in ml.
- Put the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, making sure the sugar has dissolved before boiling.
- Once the sugar syrup boils, add citric acid, stir briefly and simmer over low heat (stop stirring) until the syrup reaches 118 - 120 °C.
- In parallel, start whipping egg whites with food processor at medium speed.
- Once the sugar syrup reaches 118 - 120 °C, take it off the heat and immediately add it slowly in a thin stream to the whipped egg whites, continuing to whip the egg whites. Just before the sugar syrup reaches the necessary temperature, you can check if the egg whites already have a foamy consistency. If it is not, you can briefly turn the food processor on maximum speed. However, the egg whites must not be whipped into a solid mass when you add the sugar syrup. After adding the sugar syrup to the egg whites, continue to beat the mixture at maximum speed for about 15 minutes, until the cream is firm and the mixing bowl with the cream is barely warm when you stir it from the outside.
Filling the puff pastry horns
- Put the Italian meringue in a piping bag and fill the puff pastry horns with it. Then dust them with powdered sugar.
- Both purchased and homemade puff pastry is suitable.
- Accurately weigh all the ingredients for the Italian meringue.
- Measure the temperature of the sugar syrup accurately. It must not be lower than 118 °C and must not exceed 120 °C.
- Add the hot sugar syrup to the egg whites slowly, in a thin stream.
- The egg whites must be foamy when the sugar syrup is added. It should not be too little, so that it has not yet become foamy, but it should not be too firmly whipped either.
- After adding the sugar syrup to the egg whites, whip the cream really well.
- The time to cool the puff pastry horns after baking is not included in the preparation time.
- Note the detailed tips and tricks for baking the puff pastry horns with Italian meringue at the top of the post.