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Vanilla Slice

Introduction & method

Vanilla slices are very popular in Australia and New Zealand, and both claim to have invented them. The basic idea of a vanilla slice is a block of set egg custard sandwiched between puff pastry top and bottom. Sometimes they are iced, and passionfruit is frequently involved.

Vanilla Slice Recipe

Bake the Pastry

Of course you can make your own puff pastry, but shop-bought is usually just as good and saves a lot of time. You'll need a square or rectangular baking tin, about 19cm (7½ inches) and 5cm (2 inches) high. If your pastry is not pre-rolled, sprinkle some flour on your worktop and roll it out into 2 squares or rectangles slightly bigger than your tin. Heat your oven to 150°C (302°F) for a fan/convection oven, 170°C (338°F) conventional, gas 3. Trim your 2 sheets of pastry so that they fit snugly inside the tin. Place each sheet on a piece of greaseproof paper. If you have ready-rolled pastry it will probably come with paper to stop it sticking to itself so you can re-use that. Pierce the surface of each sheet all over with a fork - this will stop it puffing up too much. Place one pastry piece on a baking sheet, cover it with greaseproof paper, then place another baking sheet on top of it and the second piece of pastry on that. Put the whole lot in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
When baked put the pastry on a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Custard

The butter needs to be cold from the fridge and cut into small chunks. Separate the egg yolks and whites. I use the three bowl method for this, in which you crack the egg over one bowl and let the white spill into that. When there's no white left in the shell, tip the yolk into a different bowl and empty the first bowl into the last.
In a large heatproof mixing bowl, combine the sugar and the cornflour. Whisk in the egg yolks. Heat the milk/cream mixture until it's just short of boiling. Whisk one cup of this into the bowl, then add the vanilla bean paste and the remaining milk. Mix well and transfer to a saucepan on medium heat. Heat the mixture, stirring all the time. Don't let it boil. After 5-6 minutes it should start to thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. When the butter is all melted, set aside and allow to cool.

Assemble the Slices

Line the baking tin with greaseproof paper, leaving plenty hanging over the edges to act as handles so you can get it out after it's set. Place the flatter sheet of pastry into the tin and then spread all of the custard over it. Place the other sheet of pastry on top, pressing down gently so it's all in contact with the custard. Put the whole thing in the fridge to set for several hours or overnight.

Finish the Slices

When the custard has set, remove the assemblage from the tin. Ease the greaseproof paper away from the custard. Put a bit of icing sugar in a fine seive, hold it over the slice and gently tap it so that sugar falls onto the confection. With a serrated knife, carefully cut it in half, rotate it and cut it so that you have 8 rectangular pieces. Carefully remove them from the paper and place them on beautiful little china plates.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Vanilla Slice on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 375 grams puff pastry
 50 grams caster (powdered) sugar
 40 grams cornflour (cornstarch)
 6 egg yolks
 600 ml milk/double (heavy) cream
 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
 100 grams unsalted butter


About a teaspoon of caster or icing sugar to sprinkle on top.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 8 
Prep time: 5 minutes.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.
Total time: 50 minutes.