Vanilla Slice With Hazelnut Crunch

The moment I took my first bite of one of these vanilla slices, I knew I had to remove them from the house.

Now, I love a good vanilla slice from the bakery, but these? with the 3 layers of sweet, crispy puff pastry, the smooth and velvety crème patisserie, the thick, luscious top layer of icing, and the caramelized hazelnut sprinkles? These are hands down the best vanilla slices I’ve ever eaten.

Totally indulgent, but worth every single calorie.

Left in my house I would have forgotten about lunch and dinner, and just grazed on them all day.

Fortunately I knew I was out and about that day, so I took some of them to school for the other adults helping out at one of the class parties.  I even took some for my daughter’s gymnastics teacher.  That still left 5 vanilla slices, but with a little help from my husband they were all gone by the next morning….

Bad for the waistline, but great for the soul!

I’d like to say that I’m going to resist the naughty treats for a while now, but unfortunately/fortunately I’m typing this up next to my daughter who’s whipping up a batch of chocolate brownies.  After starting her own food blog a couple of months ago she’s now decided she’s going to enter Junior MasterChef this year.  I absolutely love that she’s got a real interest in cooking already, but I’m destined never to lose those extra few pounds!

Now, I know the instructions for this recipe look rather long, but don’t worry, it’s not difficult.  The cooling and setting stages take a little time, but I guarantee that once you’ve made this, you’ll be getting requests to make it again and again (I’ve got three orders so far!).

You’ll start by placing three pastry sheets on a tray and sprinkling with powdered sugar.  One of the sheets remains whole, the other two are cut into squares before cooking.  This makes it easier to cut the dessert up later on.

The pastry is baked in the oven with a weighted tray on top.  This to ensure the pastry doesn’t puff up, but instead stays thin, layered and crisp.

The custards is made next by heating milk, cream and vanilla.  This is poured into sugar, eggs and cornflour, whisked and then poured back into the pan and heated – whilst whisking until very thick.  A little butter is added to enrich the flavour even more and to ensure a glossy custard.

The custard is then cooled before assembling the pastry and custard layers and refrigerating until set.

The hazelnut crunch is made by heating sugar until melted and golden brown.  This molten sugar is then mixed with the nuts and quickly flattened on a sheet of baking parchment.  Once cool, the sheet of candied hazelnuts can be broken up for sprinkling.

Once the vanilla slice has set, it is removed from the fridge and covered with a layer of icing.

Finally the candied hazelnuts are sprinkled on top, before the dessert is sliced into portions.

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