Lemon verbena vanilla slice

Lemon verbena vanilla slice

Flowering lemon verbena

This is an idea that came about after catching up with a good friend. We planned on getting together to hang out and whip something up with some of the lemon verbena that was going a bit wild in her backyard. A cocktail, a dessert, who knew. The day before our planned catch-up I came across some lemon verbena myself; in full bloom and beckoning to be used. Before I knew it, I’d decided to take the humble vanilla slice and turn it into something a little more refreshing.

We Aussies have grown up with that very yellow and very firm vanilla slice from the corner bakery. It’s topped with icing, and depending where you get it, that icing may even have passionfruit through it. It may not be the most refined dessert in our land, but I must say, I am a little partial to it.

And then there’s the French vanilla slice. It isn’t filled with firm custard that’s made from a powdered mix coloured with yellow dye; instead it’s silkier, lighter and tastes of real vanilla. This is the slice I wanted to make.

I’ve cheated here by using store bought puff pastry. Who has time to make real puff from scratch? Right now, I don’t. And with that fresh lemon verbena infused through custard between flakey layers of pastry, it’s a vanilla slice that has been taken to a new level.

Sadly our catch-up and verbena cooking/drinking session was rain checked, so my vanilla slice wasn’t going to be enjoyed with another verbena creation. At least I had a slab of French-style vanilla slice to gorge on for a few days.

Recipe adapted from here

Lemon verbena vanilla slice recipe

Lemon verbena vanilla slice recipe

Lemon verbena vanilla slice recipe

Lemon verbena vanilla slice recipe

 

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Lemon verbena vanilla slice
Try this take on the classic vanilla slice. It's so good!
Lemon verbena vanilla slice recipe
Course Dessert
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Lemon verbena vanilla slice recipe
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Trim the pastry to fit a 20cm square baking tin. Line a baking tray with baking paper, lay the pastry on the paper, then lay another sheet of baking paper over the pastry. Top this with another baking tray, to weigh down the pastry as it cooks and prevent it from puffing too much. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool on a rack.
  3. As the pastry is cooking place the cream, milk, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon verbena leaves (and stalks if you have them) and lemon zest into a saucepan over very low heat. The low heat allows time for the verbena to infuse through the liquid. Heat until the liquid is hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid, discard the leaves and return the liquid to the saucepan.
  4. Combine the cornflour and water and mix until dissolved. Stir this through the milk and cream mixture then whisk in the egg yolks. Return the saucepan to a low heat and whisk gently until it thickens. Remove from heat and top with a cartouche ( a piece of baking paper cut into a disc ) to prevent a skin forming. Allow to cool for half an hour.
  5. To assemble, lay a sheet of baking paper into the square baking tin, overlapping the sides so you can remove the slice easily later. Place one of the cooked pastry squares into the lined tin then spread the custard over it. Top with the second square of pastry, fold in any overhanging baking paper, then cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. To serve, remove the slice from the tin. Peel away the paper and gently score lines into the top layers of pastry using a serrated knife. This will prevent the slice from squashing when you cut through it. Take a large regular knife and finish cutting all the way through in one clean cut. Run the blade under hot running water to clean the knife and warm it for the next cut. This prevents the custard from smearing and sticking too much.
  7. Dust the slices generously with icing sugar.
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