vanilla slice with vanilla bean praline

  • 2¼ cups (560ml) milk
  • 2¼ cups (560ml) single (pouring) cream
  • 90g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1½ cups (330g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
  • ⅔ cup (100g) cornflour (cornstarch)
  • ¾ cup (180ml) water
  • 9 egg yolks

rough puff pastry

  • 3 cups (450g) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 450g chilled unsalted butter, chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 1 cup (250ml) iced water

vanilla bean praline

  • ½ cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  1. To make the rough puff pastry, place the flour and butter in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until roughly combined (the butter should still be lumpy, about 1cm pieces). Make a well in the centre, add the water and mix, using a butter knife, into a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to a 20cm x 50cm rectangle (there will still be lumps of butter in the pastry).
  2. Starting at the top short edge, fold the pastry down to the middle, and fold the bottom up to overlap the top. Turn the pastry a quarter turn, and roll out again to a 20cm x 50cm rectangle. Repeat the folding process 5 more times. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to firm. 
  3. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Halve the pastry and roll out, on a lightly floured surface, to make 2 x 30cm x 40cm rectangles. Place on the trays and bake for 30–35 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Allow to cool completely.
  4. Line a 20cm x 30cm slice tin with non-stick baking paper, leaving 4cm paper over the rim. Trim each pastry sheet into a 20cm x 30cm rectangle and use 1 to line the base of the tin.
  5. Place the milk, cream, butter, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below the boil. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla pods. Place the cornflour and water in a small bowl and mix to combine. Add the cornflour mixture and egg yolks to the milk mixture, return to the heat and whisk for 30 seconds or until thickened. Pour the mixture into the tin, smooth into an even layer and top with the second sheet of pastry. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely cold and set.
  6. To make the vanilla bean praline, line a small baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat and cook for 4–5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, for 8–9 minutes or until dark golden brown. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla seeds and stir to combine. Carefully pour onto the tray and allow to cool completely. Once the praline is set, break it into pieces and place in a mortar. Pound with a pestle until fine.
  7. Cut the slice into lengths, place onto serving plates and sprinkle with the vanilla bean praline to serve. Serves 8–10
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