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French vanilla slice with custard

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  • Nut free
  • Peanut free
  • Sesame free
  • Shellfish free
  • Seafood free
  • Vegetarian

With layers of flaky pastry and rich custard, this retro vanilla slice recipe is a must-try for special events like Valentine’s Day or romantic dinners.

  • Serves12
  • Cook time45 minutes
  • Prep time10 minutes, + chilling time
French vanilla slice on wooden board

Ingredients

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

Custard

  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 1 cup (125g) custard powder
  • 3 cups (750g) thickened cream
  • 60g butter, chopped
  • 3 tsp vanilla paste
  • 4 free-range egg yolks

Icing

  • 2 tbs boiling water
  • 10g butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (240g) pure icing sugar, sifted

Nutritional information

Per serve: Energy: 1973kJ/472 Cals (23%), Protein: 2g (4%), Fat: 31g (44%), Sat Fat: 20g (83%), Sodium: 63mg (3%), Carb: 49g (16%), Sugar: 40g (44%), Dietary Fibre: 0.1g (0%).

Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.

Percentage Daily Intake information on our recipes is calculated using the nutrition reference values for an average Australian adult.

Method

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Place one pastry sheet on each lined tray. Cover pastry with another sheet of baking paper and top with another baking tray. Bake, swapping and turning trays halfway through cooking, for 25-30 mins or until dark golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

  2. Step 2

    Grease a 20cm (top and base measurement) square cake pan and line with baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang. Use a serrated knife to trim pastry sheets to fit the pan. Place one pastry square in the pan.

  3. Step 3

    To make the custard, combine the caster sugar and custard powder in a medium saucepan. Gradually add half the cream, whisking until smooth. Add remaining cream and place over medium heat. Gently whisk for 2-3 mins or until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Bring to the boil, whisking constantly, for 1 min. Remove from heat and add butter, one piece at a time, whisking after each addition. Add the vanilla and whisk to combine. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and whisk to combine.

  4. Step 4

    Spoon the custard into the cake pan and spread over the pastry. Smooth the surface. Top with the remaining pastry square. Place in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight until set.

  5. Step 5

    To make the icing, place boiling water in a small cup. Stir in butter until it melts. Place icing sugar in a large bowl and add butter mixture. Stir until a smooth paste forms. Spread over the pastry top and then place in the fridge for 30 mins to set.

  6. Step 6

    Remove slice from pan. Use a serrated knife to cut into rectangles.

     

Recipe tip

For a bit of zing, replace 1 tbs of the water in the icing with 1 tbs of lemon juice.

COOK. STORE. SAVE.
Use it up: You’ll have four free-range egg whites left over with this French vanilla custard slice recipe. Pop them into an airtight container and label them with how many egg whites are in there. Freeze for up to 3 months. Use in recipes like macarons, meringues or an egg white omelette.

Vanilla slice: Follow our easy steps to making this bakery favourite at home

An oozy, silky custard inside a flaky puff pastry that crumbles on your tongue – everyone knows the joys of biting into a great custard slice but few people ever attempt to make one at home. Yes, it may look tricky, but the good news is that, if you take this vanilla slice recipe step by step, it’s pretty easy and uses cooking techniques you already know. Once you master this recipe, we guarantee you’ll make it over and over again. It’s perfect to enjoy for special occasions like Valentine’s Day and as part of a dessert spread for birthday parties. Planning to spoil your other half with a sweet treat or romantic dinner on February 14? Check out our best Valentine’s Day recipes for a day and night to remember.

What is the origin of custard vanilla slice?

As you might have guessed, a vanilla custard slice is a traditional French recipe. It’s defined by the style of custard used to make the recipe – custard set with egg yolks – but essentially it is pastry with a custard filling. You might see it called many different names around the world. In France it’s often called mille-feuille, which means ‘a thousand layers’ and refers to the layers of flaky pastry; in the US, there’s a version called a napoleon; while in the UK you might see it called a custard slice. Here in Australia, we most commonly call it a vanilla slice. 

Irresistibly delicious and so easy to make for any occasion, everyone needs a cracking slice up their sleeve! We promise our collection of simple and easy slice recipes won't fail you.

Tips for preparing the custard for a traditional vanilla slice

The key element in this recipe is undoubtedly the custard – it’s the star of the show so getting the custard recipe for vanilla slice right is essential. The most important thing to remember is you need to cook it over medium heat. If you cook the mix over high heat, it can curdle and go lumpy. 

You also need to pay attention to when the pan is on and off the heat for this custard slice recipe. Start by combining the sugar, custard powder and cream with the pan off the heat. Put it on the heat and gently bring it to a boil, then remove it from the heat to add the butter and finally the egg yolks. The residual heat melts the butter and incorporates the egg gently. If you were to add the eggs while the pan is over the heat, the eggs may start to cook, leading to stringy bits of egg throughout your custard.

How to make vanilla slice: layering and setting

Layering is the simple part of making an easy vanilla slice with puff pastry. Once you’ve cooked the pastry sheets and let them cool, use a serrated knife to cut the pastry to size – the jagged edge of the knife will help you cut precisely without crushing the pastry. Place it in the bottom of the pan and pour the custard over the top. Use a palette knife or spatula to evenly spread the custard to each corner and smooth the surface. Top with the remaining pastry and put it into the fridge to set.

Love cooking with pastry? This collection of easy pastries recipes will satisfy your cravings for all things golden, sweet, flaky and delicious.

Now you’re ready to cut and serve this French vanilla slice recipe

Surprisingly, cutting the slice is one of the trickier elements in this recipe. Press too hard and the pastry will break and the custard will spill out of the sides. To avoid that, only take the French custard slice out of the fridge when you want to cut it – being cold will help it hold its shape. Then use a serrated knife in a sawing motion to cut through the layers. Dip the knife in hot water and dry it with a tea towel between each slice.

FAQs

French vanilla slice with custard

French vanilla slice with custard
  • Serves12
  • Cook time45 minutes
  • Prep time10 minutes, + chilling time
Ingredients
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

Custard

  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 1 cup (125g) custard powder
  • 3 cups (750g) thickened cream
  • 60g butter, chopped
  • 3 tsp vanilla paste
  • 4 free-range egg yolks

Icing

  • 2 tbs boiling water
  • 10g butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (240g) pure icing sugar, sifted
    Description

    With layers of flaky pastry and rich custard, this retro vanilla slice recipe is a must-try for special events like Valentine’s Day or romantic dinners.

    Method
    1. Step 1

      Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Place one pastry sheet on each lined tray. Cover pastry with another sheet of baking paper and top with another baking tray. Bake, swapping and turning trays halfway through cooking, for 25-30 mins or until dark golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

    2. Step 2

      Grease a 20cm (top and base measurement) square cake pan and line with baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang. Use a serrated knife to trim pastry sheets to fit the pan. Place one pastry square in the pan.

    3. Step 3

      To make the custard, combine the caster sugar and custard powder in a medium saucepan. Gradually add half the cream, whisking until smooth. Add remaining cream and place over medium heat. Gently whisk for 2-3 mins or until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Bring to the boil, whisking constantly, for 1 min. Remove from heat and add butter, one piece at a time, whisking after each addition. Add the vanilla and whisk to combine. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and whisk to combine.

    4. Step 4

      Spoon the custard into the cake pan and spread over the pastry. Smooth the surface. Top with the remaining pastry square. Place in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight until set.

    5. Step 5

      To make the icing, place boiling water in a small cup. Stir in butter until it melts. Place icing sugar in a large bowl and add butter mixture. Stir until a smooth paste forms. Spread over the pastry top and then place in the fridge for 30 mins to set.

    6. Step 6

      Remove slice from pan. Use a serrated knife to cut into rectangles.