I have always had a fondness for the classic vanilla slice. Less celebrated then the pavlova or the lamington, but just as Australian. It is one of those slices you will come across in just about every bakery.
When I visited my sister in Melbourne last year we passed numerous bakeries who had competed in the annual Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph competition. I came back determined to reproduce the beautiful slice I tasted while in Victoria. The vanilla custard filling was thick and creamy, and not at all gelatinous, like some of the sub-standard vanilla slices sold in some places.
My previous attempt to make vanilla slice was a bit disheartening because my filling didn’t set completely so when I cut it it was a bit messy (see my post here). Since then I have been hesitant to try it again, so I decided to make a different recipe by Donna Hay this time. I have altered the recipe a little and this time I have managed to produce a vanilla slice that is just right!
The Great Australian Vanilla Slice
Recipe adapted from Modern Classics 2 by Donna Hay
- 2 bought butter puff pastry sheets, thawed
- Icing sugar, to dust
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups pure cream
- 60g unsalted butter
- 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
- 2/3 cup caster sugar
- 1/3 cup cornflour
- 6 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 210°C. Place puff pastry sheets on baking trays lined with baking paper. Prick all over with a fork then bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Once out of the oven if they are too puffed, cover with a clean tea towel and gentle push down. Cool on a rack.
Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat with vanilla seeds and pod and heat until warm. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow flavours to infuse. Strain milk into a clean saucepan.
Add the cream, butter and sugar to saucepan with milk and heat over medium low heat until hot but not boiling. Mix the cornflour with 1/2 cup water to a smooth paste then whisk into the milk mixture.
Add the egg yolks and stir over heat, simmering, for 6 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Line a 23cm square tin with baking paper. Trim each pastry sheet to fit tin. Place one sheet in the base of tin, then spread filling evenly and top with remaining pastry sheet. Refrigerate for 2 hours, until set.
To serve, cut into 9 slices with a serrated knife and dust with icing sugar.
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