We’re paying tribute to one of New Zealand’s signature desserts: the Vanilla Slice. It’s made up of a layer of vanilla bean-speckled pastry cream sandwiched between crunchy layers of puff pastry. If you ask us, it’s no wonder the vanilla slice is one of New Zealand’s most beloved sweets. Our take wouldn’t be complete without New Zealand’s own Heilala Vanilla premium vanilla beans, bringing addictive sweetness and depth to that velvety custard filling.
Before you get to baking, stock up on Heilala Vanilla and get 20% off your order on their website! Simply use the code BAKEFS12 at checkout. Code valid until February 29, 2020.
- 2¼ cups (281 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) kosher salt, divided
- 1¼ cups (284 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup (120 grams) ice cold water
- 4 cups (960 grams) whole milk
- 1⅓ cups (266 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 2 Heilala Vanilla Beans, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
- 10 large egg yolks (186 grams)
- ½ cup (64 grams) cornstarch
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
- In the work bowl of a food processor, place flour and 2 teaspoons (6 grams) salt; pulse until combined. Add cold butter, and pulse until butter is dime-size. With processor running, add ½ cup (120 grams) ice cold water in a slow, steady stream just until dough comes together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Divide dough in half (about 342 grams each). Roll half of dough into a 12×8-inch rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, like a letter. Turn dough 90 degrees, and repeat procedure twice; wrap in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll half of dough to an 11×10-inch rectangle (⅛ inch thick). Place on prepared pan. Cover with another piece of parchment, and place another rimmed baking sheet on top of dough.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Press down on middle of top pan to release some of the air from the pastry. Bake until deep golden brown, about 10 minutes more, pressing down again halfway through baking. Press down on pan again. Remove top pan and parchment; let cool completely on pan. Repeat with remaining dough.
- In a large saucepan, whisk together milk, ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated sugar, and vanilla beans and seeds. Cook over medium heat until steaming. Discard vanilla beans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, remaining ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated sugar, and remaining ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) salt. Gradually add warm milk mixture to yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. (Mixture will be thick with a pudding-like consistency.) Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in softened butter in two additions. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan. Cut each pastry into an 8-inch square, trimming as needed to fit. Place 1 pastry square in bottom of prepared pan. Pour warm pastry cream on top, smoothing flat, and top with remaining pastry square. Cover and refrigerate until set, 3 to 4 hours.
- Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan. Using a serrated knife, cut into (2-inch) squares. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.
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