When I got home from Perth, there was a gorgeous and unexpected surprise waiting for me at home – a beautiful basket of passionfruit, sent by the lovely folks at Impact Communication. While I love passionfruit, it’s not something I bake with very often and I was thankful for this little reminder to do so.
It took me a little while to think of what to make – everything from pavlova to cocktails crossed my mind – but when I saw this recipe in Gourmet Traveller, I was sold. My mum is a vanilla slice fiend! It’s one of her favourite desserts and one of the only ones she’s made special requests for (every year around Mothers Day in fact!)
For those that don’t know, a vanilla slice is kind of an Australian classic, and can be a beautiful thing when done right – two layers of flaky puff pastry, with a creamy vanilla custard in between. I was never a huge fan until I made my first homemade one with real vanilla bean a few years ago. It was so different from any storebought one I’d ever tried – the custard wasnt stodgy or starchy, the pastry wasnt soggy and the vanilla taste really shone through.
This time around I added fresh passionfruit to both the custard and the glaze and it was absolutely delicious. Actually what really got me was how good the passionfruit made my kitchen smell for hours and hours afterwards. But something disturbing that I noticed, was the fact that every commercial brand of puff pastry in the supermarket contained some kind of vegetable shortening and not real butter. So next time I’m being a little more organised and picking up a pack of Careme pastry, or taking the time to make my own puff pastry from scratch. The difference is incredible and helps to make this a truly spectacular dessert.
Thanks again to Impact Communication for the gorgeous passionfruits that inspired this dessert.
Vanilla Passionfruit Slice
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
• 2 sheets butter puff pastry
Passionfruit Vanilla Custard
• 150g caster sugar
• 100g cornflour
• 810ml (3 ¼ cups) milk
• 125ml passionfruit juice*
• 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
• 2 egg yolks
• 40g butter, softened
*To make passionfruit juice, blend passionfruit pulp in a food processor to crack seeds then strain through a fine sieve. You will need about 6 or 7 passionfruits.
• 150g pure icing sugar, sifted
• 2 passionfruit, pulp only
Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Roll out the pastry to fit inside a 27x17cm brownie pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool on a wire rack.
For the custard, combine 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, whisking until smooth and thick. Remove from the heat, whisk in yolks and butter and set aside.
Line brownie pan with baking paper. Place a piece of pastry in the base and pour over the custard. Level with a palette knife and top with another piece of pastry. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.
For the icing, combine ingredients and a bowl and mix. Spread over slice and serve. Cut with a serrated knife.