The Ultimate Vanilla Slice – Our Baking Community’s Tips!

To celebrate Australia Day, we ran a competition asking our Queen Baking community to submit a photo of their ultimate Vanilla Slice, plus a secret tip for making the recipe turn out just perfectly. This competition revealed so much skill and knowledge amongst our bakers that we have shared all the amazing tips below!

Use Queen Vanilla Bean Paste for those beautiful black flecks and strong, concentrated organic vanilla flavour. Looking for recipes? Try our Classic Queen Vanilla Slice, Passionfruit Iced Vanilla Slice and Passionfruit & Vanilla Slice.

We received nearly eighty entries and had a very tough time judging! After many hours poring over your delicious photos and expert tips, we chose Laura Elliott as our winner:

We were so overwhelmed by the wealth of knowledge shared throughout the competition, we didn’t want your tips to go to waste! Read on for the best Vanilla Slice advice around, tried and tested by you, Queen Bakers:

 

Pastry:

  • Bake the pastry between two baking trays to stop it puffing up
  • Use a fork to make holes in the bottoms of each pastry sheet to make it extra crispy
  • For extra-crispy pastry, bake in an extra-hot oven
  • Cook your pastry just a little longer than the recipe suggests – 2-3 minutes is enough!
  • Score or fully cut the pastry sheets before baking to make the finished slice easier to cut (Queen tip: pastry shrinks while cooking, so we would suggest scoring the sheets not cutting through them entirely)
  • Before baking, sprinkle a little caster sugar onto your pastry
  • Not confident with pastry? Try using Lattice biscuits or Saos instead!

 

Custard:

  • If you’re lucky enough to have a Thermomix, try making your custard in it
  • Don’t be impatient with your custard – stir constantly!
  • Be careful not to do overdo the cornflour, this will result in rubbery custard
  • Use Queen Vanilla Bean Paste for those beautiful black flecks
  • We had multiple different opinions on using cream in custard:
    • Use cream and milk in equal parts
    • Use all cream and no milk (Queen tip: we found this to be a little too rich, resulting in custard that set with a very firm texture)
    • Use all cream with a knob of unsalted butter
    • Fold whipped cream into cooled custard for a lighter and smoother texture
    • Fold Mascarpone into cooled custard to help it set without going overboard with cornflour

 

General tips:

  • Be organized! Have all your ingredients and equipment laid out, ready to go.
  • Don’t skimp on the quality of your ingredients (especially Vanilla!)

 

International Mashups

Not content with the classic, some of you went wild with exciting mashups and variations, drawing inspiration from all around the world. Some of our favourites below:

From left to right;

Baklava Vanilla Slice: Spike your custard with cardamom, and sprinkle your pastry with ground pistachio and raw sugar before baking (Ilona Nicola)

Vanilla & Lavender Galaktoboureko: Infuse the milk and syrup with Tasmanian culinary lavender. To ensure the top layer is crispy, let the syrup cool completely before ladling over the hot slice, straight from the oven (Mumma’s Country Kitchen)

Croatian Vanilla Slice, aka “Kremshnite”: The secret is adding stiffly beaten egg whites to hot crème patissiere. Finish with a layer of crème Chantilly between the vanilla crème and top puff pastry (Snjezana Demo)

 

Aussie Mashups

Clockwise from top left;

Custard Tart Vanilla Slice – Tania at @baking_bad_melbourne

Golden Gaytime Vanilla Slice – Maj from @thosewefancy

Lamington, Fairy Bread and Pavlova Vanilla Slices – Chloe @willowandgeorgewollongong

Vanilla Slice Layer Cake – Elisa @elisa_pie

 

Even *more* variations:

Clockwise from top left;

“Add a smidge of Queen Natural Rosewater Essence to enhance the vanilla with a unique flavour” – Ariel Taylor

“Finish with coffee flavoured icing and roasted slivered almonds” – Tara Savill

“Add finely chopped lemon rind and a splash of rum to add depth to the custard, finished off with butterscotch icing” – Amy Heath

“Spike your custard with rum and drizzle salted caramel over the top” – Melissa Jane Watre

 

Have you go what it takes to win our next competition? Sign up to our Baking Club and follow us on Facebook to find out about our latest challenge!

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