A delicious ice cream twist on a classic Aussie dessert.
Vanilla slice, custard square, call it what you like this classic Aussie dessert is full of nostalgia and childhood memories for many Australians and Kiwis alike
Vanilla slice competitions are hotly contested up and down the country. Some prefer a classic style with its bright yellow custard and pink icing on top, while others prefer the french style, with a creamier custard and passionfruit icing.
It's hard to think how you could improve on such a thing. And then I added ice cream. This is not the shortest recipe, but it's not hard and well worth the effort. If you like vanilla slices you're going to love this 🙂
Puff Pastry: store bought puff pastry makes the pastry part of this dessert super easy, but you could make your own if you prefer.
Custard Powder: adds that classic custard square taste to this ice cream dessert.
Granulated Sugar: or white sugar is best, as it won't interfere with the flavor of the custard.
Thickened cream: I use thickened cream which has a fat content of about 34%. You could also use heavy cream or heavy whipping or whipping cream which is similar.
Milk: this recipe uses full-fat milk with a fat content of about 3.5%.
Vanilla extract: sometimes also called vanilla essence, depending on where you live. You can use either, or imitation vanilla essence, depending on your preference and budget.
Tapioca starch: is a natural and accessible way of both thickening and stabilizing the ice cream. If you can't get tapioca starch you can use arrowroot powder or cornflour in the same volume.
Powdered sugar (icing sugar): for the vanilla slice icing
Passion fruit pulp: you can use fresh or tined passion fruit pulp. If you use tinned you will need to add a little less sugar to the topping.
How to make vanilla slice ice cream
Make your custard base first. This will need to freeze overnight so it's nice and firm. This is not a recipe you can serve straight from the ice cream churner, it needs time to set.
You can either make the pastry and icing the same day as the ice cream and assemble the following day, or do the pastry and icing the following day. Make sure you give your pastry enough time to cool. Hot pastry and custard ice cream equals soggy vanilla slice ice cream!
To make the custard ice cream add the custard powder, tapioca flour, sugar, and milk to a medium-sized pan. Whisk together and heat over low heat.
Whisk whisk whisk until mixture becomes very thick, about 15 mins. You may need to use a spoon or heat-proof spatula to get into the sides of the pan where the whisk can't reach. Keep whisking, you want a nice smooth custard. This is not the thing to be doing when your arms are sore after a new gym session the day beforehand, just saying! If it's taking a long time you can turn up the heat but you will need to watch it like a hawk and whisk whisk whisk to prevent lumps. You also need to cook the base long enough to cook out the 'floury' taste of the custard powder and tapioca flour so don't rush it too much.
Allow the custard to cool, then add cream and vanilla essence. Mix or whisk together until smooth. Chill mixture until cold.
Hot tip: If you are having trouble getting the lumps out pass the custard base through a sieve. Don't be tempted to use a hand mixer as you will knock all the thickness out of the custard.
Prepare your deep-sided dish by lining it with freezable cling wrap or similar, leaving a wide edge to help you remove the ice cream later. You may need to crisscross the cling wrap to get to fully cover the bottom.
If you are using a self-refrigerating ice cream churner turn it on about ten minutes before churning. Otherwise, take your bowl out of the freezer immediately before churning. Churn the custard base. It will be the consistency of soft serve when done, about 25 mins.
Hot tip: Make sure there is space in your freezer to put your deep dish in flat and stable Before you put your ice cream in it, or there will be tears!
Put churned ice cream into a lined deep dish and flatten it out as best you can. Put another layer of freezable cling wrap over the top. Freeze overnight. You need the ice cream to be nice and firm to assemble the vanilla slice ice cream.
To make the pastry heat your oven to 420°F (220°C). Defrost two sheets of store-bought butter puff pastry. I used Pampas butter puffs and they are 9" (23cm) squared. You can make your own pastry if you want, but I wanted to concentrate on the ice cream for this recipe.
You will need two sets of trays that fit nicely over each other. If you only have two suitable trays you can do the pastry in batches. Line the trays with parchment paper (baking paper) and put on the pastry.
Hot tip: Remember to remove the plastic backing from the pastry sheets before putting them on the trays.
Prick each sheet of pastry all over with a fork. This will help stop the pastry from bubbling up. Put on another layer of parchment paper and your second tray on top. Bake in the oven until golden, approx. 15 mins.
Remove from the oven and allow the pastry to cool completely. Score the pastry lightly then cut through, this will help stop the pastry from cracking. Cut pastry into eight pieces as shown, or smaller for smaller slices. If not assembling until the following day place in an airtight container until needed.
Hot tip: A pizza cutter works well for cutting the pastry.
To make passionfruit icing sift the icing thoroughly. Do not skip this step as you will end up with lumpy icing that's hard to mix. Add passionfruit pulp and mix until smooth. If you don't like passionfruit seeds you can strain them out, but you will need more passionfruit pulp to reach the right consistency. Add more passionfruit pulp if you want thinner icing.
To assemble the Vanilla Slice ice cream, ice half your pastry squares with passionfruit icing. Remove the custard ice cream from the freezer and remove it from the dish using the cling wrap overhang. Run a large knife under hot water and dry quickly. Cut the ice cream into eight rectangles or the same size pieces as your pastry, re-heating and drying the knife as needed.
Place one non-iced pastry piece in the bottom. Top with one piece of custard ice cream. Top with one piece of iced pastry. You can put a few dots of passionfruit pulp on top if you wish.
Eat and enjoy!
Have you made this recipe? I'd love to know how it when in the comments below 🙂
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Why not try making
Vanilla slice ice cream
- ice cream machine
- 2 - 4 oven trays that fit over each other
- parchment paper
- a deep sided dish approx. the same size as your pastry sheets
- freezable cling wrap or similar
Custard ice cream
- ½ cup (75gms) good quality custard powder
- 4 table spoons (30gms) tapioca flour *you can use corn flour as a substitute
- 1 cup (225gms) granulated or white sugar
- 2 & ½ cups (625ml) full fat milk
- 2 cups (500ml) thickened cream
- 2 tea spoons (10ml) vanilla essence
- 2 sheets store brought butter puff pastry
- 4 table spoons (60ml) passion fruit pulp, approx. 4 passion fruits *use tinned if fresh unavailable. Aadd more pulp for thinner icing
- 1 cup (150gms) icing sugar
- Make the custard ice cream base first. It will need to freeze overnight. Then you can make the pastry and icing.
Custard ice cream
- Put custard powder, tapioca flour, sugar and milk into a medium sized pot.
- Whisk together, then heat over a low heat until very thick, whisking frequently. You may need a spoon or spatular to get into the corners where the whisk can't reach.
- *If its taking a long time to thicken you can turn up the heat but watch it and whisk constantly, it may thicken fast. You need to cook the custard for long enough to cook out the 'floury' taste of the custard powder and tapioca flour
- Take off the heat and cool, then whisk in cream and vanilla essence. You will need to whisk whisk whisk to mix properly until smooth
- *If you're having trouble getting the lumps out pass the custard through a strainer.
- Chill the custard ice cream base until cold.
- Line your deep sided dish with cling wrap, leaving a wide edge hanging over each side. You may need to criss cross the cling wrap to get full coverage over the dish.
- If you are using a self refrigerating ice cream churner turn on ten minutes before churning to chill, other wise take your bowl out of the freezer just before churning.
- Churn ice cream. It will be the consistency of soft serve when done.
- Put churned ice cream into dish lined with cling wrap. Flatten out the top, then place a layer of cling wrap on top. Freeze over night. You need very firm ice cream.
- Pre-heat oven to 420°F (220°C).
- Defrost pastry sheets.
- Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Remove plastic backing and place a piece of pastry on each tray.
- Prick pastry all over with a fork.
- Cover with another piece of baking paper, then put another tray on top.
- Bake pastry for 10 - 15 mins or until starting to brown.
- Remove from oven and cool.
Passion fruit icing
- Sift icing. *Don't skip this step or you will have very lumpy icing!
- Add passion fruit pulp and stir until smooth.
To assemble vanilla slice ice cream
- Cut each sheet of cooled pastry into eight rectangles. Score the pastry lightly first, then cut through to reduce cracking.
- Ice half the pastry rectangles with passionfruit icing.
- Remove ice cream from freezer. Use edges of cling wrap to remove from dish.
- Run a large knife under hot water and dry, then use to cut ice cream into same size pieces as your cut pastry, stoping and heating the knife again as needed.
- Place one sheet of cut pastry on the bottom. Top with a piece of custard ice cream, then the an iced piece of pastry.
- Dot top with a a little passion fruit pulp if desired.
- Eat and enjoy!
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online database. The nutritional content of ingredients may vary by brand. If you require accurate nutritional information, you should calculate this based on the specific brands and products you are using.