brûléed vanilla slice
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.