Tuesday, 16 February 2010

His results - Vanilla Slice

This week's recipe was an education. I learnt a fair bit while making it. Twice.

The frozen pastry turned out really good. I trimmed it and baked it between baking sheets as instructed.

I decided to make a triple layer slice in this awesome old loaf pan. It's new to me (I got it a couple of weeks ago from a charity shop) but it's probably 1960s I think. I like the way its corners are rounded not square. I already had another pan by Skyline, since I got this one I managed to pick up another, this time a large pie pan.

I made the custard just as the recipe instructed and assembled it all. It was hard to know how much the custard was going to thicken as it cooled but I kept cooking it until it stopped getting any thicker and was pretty gloopy. After it was all put together I left it to sit in the fridge for a few hours.

You see that stuff in the bottom of the bowl? That's the custard.

It wasn't anywhere near thick enough and I'm pretty sure that with that recipe it was never going to be. If anything I think it got a little thinner as it cooled, bizarely.

So it wasn't really a vanilla slice but it was tasty. Very much so. The custard was really delicious.

I was unsatisfied though and decided to start again. This time with just one layer of custard and in a wider, flatter dish. I consulted the oracle and it looks as if the custard could have done with about double the number of egg yolks. This was a bit of a problem since I only had three eggs in the house and it was 10pm by this point. I decided to have a bit of fiddle about and see what I could do. I dispensed with the water in the original recipe, and increased the amount of cornstarch quite a bit. I also mixed the eggs, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and added the milk mix to that as per Delia to make double sure I wasn't going to wreck my last eggs. I also made sure it was very thick. I refused to have it be too thin this time!

I used some pieces of folded paper stuffed down between the cling film and the dish to keep the sides parallel since there's quite a flare to the dish.

This time it set up beautifully. If anything the custard could have been a little less solid but better safe than sorry!

The photo above is the whole thing as it came out of the dish. Looking good! Then I decorated it and sliced it up!

The tiny specks you can see in the custard are vanilla seeds. This was packed with them. On top of the ones from the bean this fancy vanilla extract I use is yummy, syrupy and packed with seeds too. If you look carefully you can see them in the caramel topping from the caramel cake.

This second batch turned out to be every bit as delicious as the first and it stayed as slices too. It's a seriously tasty treat. I would recommend everybody to make and eat plenty of these things but I'd say use a different custard recipe since she also couldn't get it to set up. It's nice that we have each other to check our results against. It's good to know it's not just you.

It's her turn to choose for next week. I've already decided what I want for the week after that but it's staying a secret for now!

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