So I’ve knocked another item off ‘the list’- if you haven’t read my last post I’ve got a list of items/recipes that I will make, one day, when the time is right.
Vanilla slice, snot block, custard slice whatever you want to call it they are all fairly similar and it wasn’t until I decided I wanted to make it the other night I realised why I’d put it off for so long.
Let’s start with the puff pastry- you cook it before you assemble but how to cook (and slice) it really varies. Some recipes cook it weighted with another tray down on top, other recipes let it puff up and then compress afterwards, or others let it puff up and then get you to slice it horizontally to make two sheets (that was never going to happen!)
Then it’s the filing, some are made like a custard cooking it with eggs, others are more cornflower based still cooked and thickened up with eggs at a later point.
And assembly…. some just use 2 sheets of pastry and others use more, some use icing and some don’t- so many bloody variations!
Looking through the myriad of recipes I decided on a passionfruit version– it was summer so good timing to give it a go. I didn’t realise unti I purchased said passionfruit how the pressure would really be on for it not to be a failure because in total it was $12 worth of passionfruit alone!
Additionally my biggest fear was slicing the damned thing when it was done so I also purchased an electric knife (wanted one for a while anyway so it seemed like a good excuse!)
After dinner I set out for a late night baking session, and read the recipe properly… and read it again, and again and got quite confused. After conferring with monkey I realised this recipe wanted you to have the pastry to puff up and slice through horizontally so using 2 pieces you end up with 4 to layer with. It was almost like a cross between a vanilla slice and a mille feuille, I really didn’t like my chances of precision slicing there so I opted to use 4 slices of pastry and cooked them between 2 pans layered with baking paper and pressed down occasionally and they ended up beautifully golden and crisp…
To trim to pan size I just used a serrated edged knife and it cut really easily (may have sampled some of the off cuts)- now onto the filling.
This recipe was a cornflour thickened passionfruit cream cooked until thick and then egg yolks and butter stirred through afterwards- took a while to get to a beautiful state but it was lump free. To make the passionfruit juice which is in the cream you scooped out about 6 passionfruit, whizzed in a blender and then strained- smelt just like summer.
Before you start to assemble make sure you line the pan really really well with either baking paper or glad wrap- you need enough to grip onto when you need to lift it out of the pan to slice.
Assembly was easy- pastry, cream, pastry cream, pastry, cream and then pastry- set for a while and then get started on the icing.
I’m always amazed at how little liquid you need to mix with icing sugar to get it to a spreadable state- 150g of icing sugar and 2 passionfruit left you with a beautiful yellow icing that smelt so so good- spread a thick layer on top and all you need now is a little more patience for it to fully set.
I let mine set in the fridge overnight- and because I was worried it might be a little wobbly I popped in the freezer for about 30 minutes before slicing.
It lifted out of the pan easily thanks to the substantial amount of glad wrap used and I fired up the newly purchased electric knife. Best purchase EVER! This just sliced through it like a breeze and I have a feeling I might just have a need to use it on everything now.
So the end result? Pretty good- still needed a knife and fork to eat it properly (sacrilege I know!) but taste wise it did the job- thank goodness you could taste the passionfruit! I think next time I make it I’ll do the traditional 2 slices of pastry and may also look for more of a custardy recipe for the filling.
Probably not something I would make often but definitely will be making (and improving on) in the future. Although if I want to make more passionfruit ones may need to consider growing my own passionfruit…