Vanilla Slices (Uptown Version)

Is the vanilla slice really the chocolate chip cookie of Australia? If so, those Aussies are more sophisticated than we give them credit for. Granted most home versions are made with powdered custard and either store bought puff pastry or mildly sweet biscuits, then topped with simple powdered sugar icing. Still pretty cool though, no?

Objectively speaking, vanilla slices resemble both Napoleons and galaktoboureko, but in truth they really are their own thing. The commercial versions are, at least from what I understand, so heavily gelatin-thickened that they practically bounce, hence their nickname which I won’t repeat here for fear of getting more irate comments. While I originally thought I’d try to replicate that density, in the end I decided that just getting a custard layer this thick to stand and slice neatly was enough. But feel free to add more gelatin, those of you who prefer yours with a stouter texture.


Vanilla Slice (Uptown Version) Recipe

I’ve agonized a bit over this I must confess. There’s always pressure when you’re taking on a cultural icon…especially one you’ve never tasted. The filling of a vanilla slice bears an uncanny resemblance to pastry cream, only it’s often thickened to a rubbery degree. Some recipes I’ve seen call for up to a cup of cornstarch (in only three cups of liquid). That, to me, is a starch monstrosity. So my plan is to thicken a relatively thin pastry cream with gelatin in an attempt to achieve the starchy-rubbery consistency the appears to define a “snot block”. So here’s what I propose:

about 16 ounces puff pastry, store bought or home made
1 recipe pastry cream
3 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 recipe poured fondant
simple syrup