Don’t you sometimes wonder after making something for the first time, after years of buying the item in a shop, how you put up with its industrial, mass produced appearance and flavour (or lack of). I had this feeling when I made a passionfruit vanilla slice. The proverbial vanilla slice, normally sans passionfruit, can be found in most bakeries and cafes around Australia. Some of the ones I’ve seen or bought have had varying levels of yellow food colouring and custard consistency, a few to the point of scariness. For obvious reasons, I avoid slices that have layers of custard that look like lurid yellow UHU gluestick sandwiched in between pastry.
I found a recipe in a magazine for a passionfruit vanilla slice that looked reasonably easy, but it was the picture that won me over (as is usually the case) – a luscious slab of slice heaven, topped with an icing dripping over the edges. The addition of passionfruit was another plus, jazzing up the plain vanilla slice that I was accustomed to.
Passionfruit vanilla slice
adapted from Gourmet Traveller, March 2007
2 sheets puff pastry
Passionfruit vanilla custard
150 gm (1/4 cup) caster sugar
100 gm (2/3 cup) cornflour
810 ml (3 1/4 cups) milk
125 ml (1/2 cup) passionfruit juice (see note below)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
2 egg yolks
40 gm butter, softened
150 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
pulp of 2 passionfruit
Note: To make passionfruit juice, blend passionfruit pulp in a food processor to crack seeds. Strain through a fine sieve. To get 1 cup of juice, you will need about 12 passionfruit.
Preheat oven to 200° C. Trim each to 18cm square, prick all over with a fork and bake for 15 minutes until puffed and golden. Cool on a wire rack, then halve each sheet horizontally with a serrated knife to give four squares.
For the custard, combine the sugar and cornflour in a saucepan. Over medium heat, add milk a little at a time, whisking until smooth. Add juice and vanilla seeds. Bring just to the boil, stir continuously with a wooden spoon until smooth and thick. Makes sure you get into those corners. Remove from heat and whisk in yolks and butter. Set aside.
Line an 18cm square cake pan with baking paper. Place a piece of pastry at the bottom and pour over a third of the custard. Level and top with another piece of pastry. Repeat with remaining custard and pastry. Chill until set.
For icing, combine ingredients in a bowl and mix. Spread over slice and serve.
Eating notes: The only problem I found – difficulty in biting through the pastry and the custard oozing out through the sides. The only thing I could think of is to make sure next time that the puff pastry was cooked longer and dried out more. It was obviously the layers inside each piece which was still a bit chewy and hence, hard to bite (and cut) through. But flavour wise, no problems, AT ALL. This was delicious.