Lemon verbena vanilla slice
Try this take on the classic vanilla slice. It’s so good!
  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.