Vanilla slice is one of Australia’s favourite sweet treats, and no CWA fair or country bakery worth its salt would be caught dead without it. And the best part is that it’s not as difficult to make as it may seem. This clever recipe helps you get that crispy, flakey pastry with minimal effort and delicious results. It’s certain to impress your friends next time it’s your turn to bring afternoon tea!
- 4 sheets ready-rolled frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- ¾ cup custard powder
- ½ cup cornflour
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups thickened cream
- 60g butter, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks pure icing sugar, for dusting
1. Place a baking tray into oven and preheat oven and tray to 220C.
2. Place 1 sheet of pastry onto a sheet of baking paper, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of white sugar and gently roll into the pastry with a rolling pin. Top with a second sheet of pastry, sprinkle with another tablespoon of sugar and gently roll into the pastry.
3. Working quickly, lift the pastry, still on the baking paper, onto the hot tray. Top with a sheet of baking paper, then place another tray on top. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the top tray and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and place second tray on top of cooked pastry and gently press to condense the pastry layers. Remove the pastry to a wire rack, repeat with remaining pastry and sugar.
4. Line a deep, 22cm base cake pan with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all four sides. Use a serrated knife to trim 1 pastry square and ease it into the base of the pan.
5. Combine the custard powder, cornflour and caster sugar in a bowl. Add the milk and cream, whisking until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the butter and vanilla and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes or until custard comes to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 3 minutes.
6. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the egg yolks. Pour half the hot custard over the pastry. Place half the remaining pastry over the hot custard, pressing gently to secure. Repeat with the remaining custard and pastry to make the second layer. Set aside for 1 hour to cool, then refrigerate for 3–4 hours or until cold.
7. Lift the vanilla slice out of the pan and remove the paper. Dust heavily with icing sugar and cut into squares to serve.