Spring is here! Well the season is, but unfortunately the warmth that it usually brings hasn’t quite hit Tassie yet. Don’t get me wrong, we have had the occasional sunny day where I can be outside without a jacket on, but there has been quite a bit of snow on the mountain too! I love Spring…in fact, I think it would have to be my favourite season. Warm enough to be outside and not have to worry about rugging up in coats and scarves, but still cool enough to be comfy in my jeans and hoodie.
My dad is currently on holidays, so one afternoon after helping him plant our new apricot tree (I can’t wait until it is big enough to bear fruit!), I decided that it was time to make a favourite sweet treat of his…vanilla slice! A little while ago he had come home from a trip to the north of the state with a MASSIVE piece of vanilla slice to share with us all at home, so since then it has been on my ‘to bake’ list. It may look tricky, but by using premade puff pastry, it is in fact super easy! Icing, pastry and custard…any combination like this sounds good to me.
Recipe adapted from taste.com.au
1 1/4 C milk
300ml thickened cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 C cornflour
1/3 C custard powder
60g butter, chopped
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, partly thawed
For the icing
2 C icing sugar
1 Tb unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla essence
Yellow food colouring
1. Preheat oven to 200g Celsius. Line two trays with baking paper. Place 1 pastry sheet on each tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. After taking them out of the oven, cover with a teatowel and use hands to gently press pastry and flatten. Set aside.
2. Place milk and cream in saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until almost simmering (don’t boil).
3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until thick and creamy. Add cornflour and custard powder. Beat until smooth. Gradually beat in milk mixture.
4. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in melted butter until smooth.
5. Place mixture in a bowl, cool slightly, and then cover. Set aside to cool.
6. In a bowl, mix icing sugar, butter, and vanilla together, adding a teaspoon or so of hot water at a time to make a thin/medium textured icing. Add a few drops of yellow food colouring to create your desired colour.
7. Line a 6cm deep, 23cm base square cake tin with foil. Place one pastry sheet in the tin and pour custard over the top. Top with remaining pastry sheet and cover with the prepared icing.
Recipe yields approximately 16 squares.
I must admit, I made this on a day when I was in one of my ‘overthinking everything’ moods, and talked myself into thinking that I had stuffed it up. But…it was a success! In fact, it turned out even better than I hoped. And most importantly, the vanilla slice lover approved.
Go on, give it a try. Enjoy!