Homemade Vanilla Slice

A single square serving of vanilla slice sitting on a black camp plate.

A homemade vanilla slice is a wonderfully satisfying baked dessert item perfect for picnics, packed lunches, and day trips. With its layers of puff pastry, cream filling, and white and pink icing, it is as pretty to look at as it is to eat. The texture is really pleasing with a bit of flaky crust and a creamy center.

Even though it seems complicated, there is just a little effort to make the three core elements. The puff pastry is store-bought, the vanilla custard is a basic recipe, and the icing is very simple. Once all the layers are made and assembled, it is worth the bit of effort, as it looks and tastes great.

The custard is not the traditional homemade egg version, but rather one made of custard powder and cornstarch. This version is very firm, so it holds together better while traveling and is more stable and less likely to break or ooze.

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A slab of vanilla slice being cut into serving pieces with a large slicing knife.
Use a large knife to cut the vanilla slice into serving pieces.
A foil custom made cake tin, the same size as the puff pastry, is holding the homemade vanilla slice before the icing layer is added.
If you don’t have a cake tin the size of the puff pastry, one can be made with foil.
A toothpick is being dragged through the pink lines of icing on the vanilla slice to create a decorative pattern.
The traditional pattern on the top of the vanilla slice is easily made with basic parallel lines and a toothpick.
A golden brown sheet of cooked puff pastry sitting on a cooling rack.
Pricking the puff pastry stops it from puffing too much, allowing it to make a more solid outer layer for the vanilla filling.
A single square serving of vanilla slice sitting on a black camp plate.
Vanilla slice is an Australian dessert that consists of two sheets of puff pastry with a thick vanilla custard between, topped with a simple icing.

Homemade Vanilla Slice Recipe

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A single square serving of vanilla slice sitting on a black camp plate.
Homemade Vanilla Slice is a wonderfully satisfying baked dessert item perfect for picnics, packed lunches, and day trips.
Preparation 3 hours 20 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Ready in 4 hours
Servings 12 Servings
InfluenceAustralian
DifficultyExperienced
MethodBake
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Ingredients

Pastry

  • 2 sheets pre-made puff pastry thawed

Vanilla Custard

  • 4 cups cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 1/2 cup custard powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar (icing sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 drops red food coloring

Equipment

  • 2 baking tray(s)
  • foil
  • toothpick or skewer

Directions

Pastry

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (210 degrees C).
  • Take the puff pastry and pierce it multiple times with a fork to help reduce the amount of puff, thus creating a firmer shell for the vanilla slice.
  • Lay the sheets of puff pastry on a lightly greased baking tray. Place in the oven and cook for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and place on a cooling rack until needed.

Vanilla Custard

  • Add the cream, sugar, cornstarch, and custard powder to a saucepan. Whisk until well combined and completely smooth.
  • Start to heat the cream mixture, continually mixing, until warm and starting to slightly thicken. Add the sugar and mix in. Continue heating and stirring until boiling (the custard will be very thick).
    Tip: It is important to make sure the mixture has boiled otherwise the cornstarch will create a gritty texture.
  • When thickened take off the heat then stir in the butter and vanilla until well combined. Continue stirring until cooled to room temperature.

Icing

  • Combine the confectioner's sugar with the water and stir until well combined and smooth.
  • Transfer a small amount, about 2 tablespoons, to a plastic bag. Add a few drops of red food coloring to create a pink color. Squish in the bag to create a consistent color.

To Assemble

  • If you have a cake tin the same size as the puff pastry use that. Otherwise use a sheet of pastry and foil to create a cake tin of the same size. 
  • The first sheet of puff pastry is placed in the foil cake tin flat side down (same way as cooked).
  • Top the puff pastry with all the vanilla custard and spread evenly making sure there are no air pockets.
  • Top the vanilla custard with the second sheet of pastry flat side up (opposite to how it was cooked), this creates a flat surface for the icing.
  • Tip the white icing on top of the puff pastry and spread evenly to cover the top.
  • Cut a tiny corner off of the plastic bag. Run the pink icing back and forth to create parallel lines across the top of the slice.
  • Use a toothpick or skewer to drag the icing at right angles to the pink lines going from one side to the other back and forth to create a traditional pattern.
  • Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, overnight if possible, to set before slicing.
  • Using a large knife, cut the vanilla slice into square or rectangle serving pieces. If the edges are messy they may be trimmed to create a cleaner serving slice.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 662kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 5gFat: 45gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 127mgPotassium: 107mgFiber: 1gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 1198IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 1mg

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About Saffron Hodgson

Outdoor cooking has been Saffron’s passion since she was young, often choosing to go camping and cook hearty meals over fire rather than stay inside, watch TV, and eat take-out. Today she is the driving force of Bush Cooking bringing the skills of cooking outdoors to thousands of people.

Learn more about Saffron Hodgson
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