Saturday, 23 April 2011

Cake-Shop Vanilla Slice

Thinking back to my childhood I actually wasn't a huge fan of the old custard slice. I couldn't really say that it was the first thing I chose at the bakery. The thing that sticks in my memory about them is how messy they are when taking that first bite....the custard oozing out everywhere and if you had fresh cream with it that would just fall out onto the plate!! I think the fresh cream actually turned me off them when I was young. I think you are either a fan of lots of cream or not so much.

One place I do remember as a kid which would have the BIGGEST custard slices that I'd ever seen was "Miss Maud's". We would frequent there on occasions when we were out on shopping trips with Mum and Dad. I think the real attraction was the kids plate you could order - toasted ham and cheese sandwiches with plain potato thin crisps on the plate with some fairy bread. Every kid's dream. Dad would have the custard slice and it had about three layers, a pastry layer in between two custard layers and the top layer had icing spread across the top (not great for the diet Dad!). My dear sister B? Well she was OBSESSED with this cake they had, a traditional Swedish cake called Princess Cake (you may have seen it at Ikea?). She mainly loved it as the icing was made out of pure marzipan. I think B would have been happy just sitting there eating a ball of marzipan if she could have!! (In fact that's just what she did, mum had bought this little marzipan frog cake decoration and B quietly snuck off somewhere and eaten the whole thing!!)

Back to the custard slice or I'm going to get fired from writing any future blogs and letting little secrets out about B. I like my custard slice to be a little firmer than some and have made a few over the years, with some being a success and some not so successful. One that I did find that we really liked and was quite simple to make was from Janelle Bloom's book "Fab Food for Family and Friends". I have made it a few times and have halved the recipe also to make the height not so high but for you today I have gone the whole hog!!

Janelle says that this recipe has been a closely guarded secret in her family for years so of course it would have to be good!! We like it.

4 sheets ready rolled frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/3 cup white sugar
3/4 cup custard powder
1/2 cup cornflour
1 cup caster sugar
2 cups milk
2 cups thickened cream (yes I know!!)
60g butter, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
pure icing sugar, for dusting

Place a flat baking tray into the oven and preheat the oven and tray to 220 degrees no fan/200 degrees fan forced or gas mark 7-8.

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.

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 the other two sheets of pastry.

Line a deep, 22cm base cake pan with baking paper (I used a square cake pan that had a removable base) allowing a overhang on all four sides. Use a serrated knife to trim 1 pastry square and ease it into the base of the pan. ( I just kept trimming around all four sides until it just fell into the pan)

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. It will thicken very quickly at this stage. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3 minutes.

Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the egg yolks. Pour the hot custard over the pastry. Trim the remaining pastry and place over the hot custard, pressing gently to secure. Set aside for 1 hour to cool, then refrigerate for 3-4 hours until cold.

Lift the vanilla slice out of the pan and remove the paper. Dust heavily with icing sugar and cut into pieces to serve. I used a serrated knife to do this.

Yum! M x


  1. Hi,

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    Please let me know if you want any changes.