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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Recipes by request - Vanilla Slice

Yesterday I tried my hand at a recipe that I was asked to make by a friend on MUO.

This treat is found in pretty much all Australian bakeries and is derived from a French pastry called Mille-feuille, here's the wiki on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mille-feuille. The Australian version is topped with either passionfruit icing or icing sugar.

So, I looked around and finally found a recipe that didn't use custard powder, as one, I don't have any and two, I prefer to make custard from scratch because it's really easy.  Also, with this recipe, I didn't make the passionfruit icing because they are just about impossible to get in NE Ohio and I don't have any tinned pulp either...which reminds me, I have to go to the local Latin store and see if they have any.

Ingredients:


1 pkt ready-prepared puff pastry, thawed
icing (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting
3 cups (700ml) milk
60g butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
cup (150g) caster (superfine) sugar
cup cornflour (cornstarch)
½ cup (125ml) water
6 egg yolks

I've seen a few recipes that call for 8, even 12 egg yolks. The more egg yolks you put in, the more yellow the custard will be. At the end of the day, it's up to you, but don't use less than 6.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350ºF).

Place puff pastry sheets on baking trays lined with baking paper. Top each piece with another baking tray as a weight and bake for 35 minutes or until puffed and golden. Once out of the oven, if they are too puffed, cover with a clean tea towel and gently push down. Cool on racks. 







Or, you could do this the way I did, but won't do again, and put the puff pastry on a baking sheet, prick all over with a fork and bake for 35 minutes. Then, when you remove them, cover them with a tea towel and press them flat. I think the other way would work better. 


To make the filling, place the milk, cream, butter, vanilla and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until hot but not boiling.

 

Mix the cornflour and water to a smooth paste and whisk into the hot milk mixture. Keep stirring, otherwise you'll end up with lumpy, instead of smooth custard.



Add the egg yolks and stir, allowing to simmer, for 6 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.This is REALLY important, because you have to cook the mixture enough to get the raw cornflour taste out of it. Also make sure you stir or whisk the yolks when you put them in straight away, otherwise your custard will be a bit lumpy with bits of cooked yolk in it.









Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Now, don't do what I did and start this later in the day, then go out somewhere and finish it the next day. The custard will set and the finished product won't look as good as it should. (BTW, I don't usually put something on here that didn't turn out perfect, but there's quite a bit of time involved in making this and I certainly didn't want it to go to waste because I don't know when I'll be making this again.)

Place one of the pastry sheets in a 20cm x 30cm slice tin lined with non-stick baking paper.



Spread over the filling and top with the remaining pastry. 






See what I mean about the custard not being the best it could be...you can't let get too cold before you assemble the Vanilla Slice. 


Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. To serve, dust with icing (confectioners) sugar or passionfruit icing and slice.



To make passionfruit icing:

3 passionfruit, halved and pulp removed for use
Or, 2 tbsp tinned passionfruit pulp and syrup
1 tsp softened butter
1 1/2 cups icing (confectioners) sugar 

Sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add butter and passionfruit pulp and beat with a wooden spoon until combined.

So there you have it, if you don't make the mistakes that I did, you'll end up with a pretty much perfect Vanilla Slice.

If you've got a recipe you'd like me to try, just let me know and I'll have a bash at it.

Enjoy.

Matt

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