Ross says: “This is the Australian take on the French millefeuille (a thousand sheets). It is simplified by the exclusion of a middle sheet of pastry so nothing gets in the way of the delicious custard filling. This is a perennial favourite, much loved in school canteens, bakeries and cafés. Contemporary food magazines and cookery books entice us with the ‘best ever’ vanilla slice recipe. Sometimes it is topped with a plain icing or with some passionfruit. There is no doubting that this one is made in Australia.”
Makes 12 slices
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: about 35 minutes, plus cooling
- 4 sheets store-bought puff pastry
For the vanilla custard:
- 1 litre whole milk
- 220g caster sugar
- 50g cornflour
- 70g custard powder
- 60g unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the passionfruit icing:
- 240g icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh passionfruit pulp (1–2 passionfruit)
- 1 teaspoon melted butter
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Join 2 sheets of pastry together so they overlap by just 5mm or so, then press down firmly on the seal to join. Cut out a 35 x 25cm rectangle from the pastry. You can use a 30 x 20cm slice pan as a guide, just cut a few centimetres larger than the pan around the perimeter.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and prick the pastry all over with a fork. Cover with a sheet of baking paper then put another baking sheet on top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.
Remove from the oven and transfer the pastry to a work counter. Repeat with the remaining pastry.
Line a 30 x 20cm slice pan or shallow baking pan with baking paper, ensuring there is excess paper overhanging the longer sides. Lay one of the pastries in the pan and use kitchen scissors to trim to fit, if need be.
To make the custard, place the milk, sugar, cornflour and custard powder together in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook over a medium heat, stirring until the mixture boils. Stir constantly for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is very thick.
Remove the pan from the heat, then stir through the butter until well combined, then stir in the vanilla.
Pour the custard over the pastry in the slice pan and leave to cool completely. Once cool, put the remaining pastry on top, so the flakiest side is facing down.
To make the icing, combine the icing sugar, passionfruit pulp, butter and 1 teaspoon cold water in a bowl and stir until smooth. Pour over the pastry and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
To serve, remove the slice from the pan. Cut into 12 rectangles, each measuring 8 x 5cm.
Australia: The Cookbook by Ross Dobson (£35, Phaidon) is out 15 April