brûléed vanilla slice

donna hay - - BRÛLÉE -

2¼ cups (560ml) milk

2¼ cups (560ml) sin­gle (pour­ing) cream 90g un­salted but­ter, chopped

1½ cups (330g) caster (su­perfine) sugar 1 tea­spoon vanilla bean paste

²⁄³ cup (100g) corn­flour (corn­starch) ¾ cup (180ml) wa­ter

9 egg yolks

¼ cup (55g) white (gran­u­lated) sugar

rough puff pas­try

3 cups (450g) plain (all-pur­pose) flour, plus

ex­tra for dust­ing

450g chilled un­salted but­ter, cut into 2cm pieces 1 cup (250ml) iced wa­ter

To make the rough puff pas­try, place the flour and but­ter in a large bowl. Us­ing your fin­ger­tips, quickly rub the but­ter into the flour un­til roughly com­bined (the but­ter should still be lumpy, about 1cm pieces). Make a well in the cen­tre of the mix­ture, add the iced wa­ter and use a but­ter knife to in­cor­po­rate into a rough dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured sur­face and shape into a rough rec­tan­gle. Lightly flour the dough and roll out to a 50cm x 20cm rec­tan­gle (there should still be large lumps of but­ter in the pas­try). Start­ing at the top short end, fold the pas­try down to the mid­dle, and fold the bot­tom up to over­lap the top. Turn the pas­try a quar­ter turn, and roll out again to a 50cm x 20cm rec­tan­gle. Re­peat the fold­ing process 5 more times. Wrap the pas­try in plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate for at least 1 hour.

Pre­heat oven to 200°C (400°F). Cut the pas­try into three pieces and place on a lightly floured sur­face. Roll out each third to a 30cm square. Place each on a bak­ing tray lined with non-stick bak­ing pa­per and cook for 25–30 min­utes or un­til golden brown and puffed. Set aside to cool com­pletely.

Lightly grease a 20cm square tin and line with non-stick bak­ing pa­per, leav­ing ex­cess pa­per over­hang­ing. Us­ing the base of the tin as a guide, cut each pas­try sheet into a 20cm square. Place one sheet of pas­try into the tin and press down slightly. Set aside. Place the milk, cream, but­ter, caster sugar and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just be­low the boil. Re­move from the heat. Place the corn­flour and wa­ter in a small bowl and whisk to com­bine. Add the corn­flour mix­ture and egg yolks to the milk mix­ture, re­turn to low heat and whisk for 1–2 min­utes or un­til very thick. Pour half the mix­ture into the tin, smooth into an even layer and top with the sec­ond sheet of pas­try. Re­peat with re­main­ing cus­tard and pas­try. Re­frig­er­ate for 6 hours or overnight or un­til com­pletely cold and set. In­vert the slice onto a serv­ing plate and cut into squares. Sprin­kle evenly with white sugar. Use a kitchen blow­torch to brûlée the top. Set aside to cool be­fore serv­ing. SERVES 8–10.

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