A vanilla slice is a delicious concoction of creme patissiere sandwiched between puff pastry layers and topped with simple sugar frosting, or fondant icing. It is a popular choice for an afternoon treat in England.
My recipe is a simple version of the very neat traditional slice (sometimes known as a Napolean, or millefeuille). I find making a very neat wedge is difficult. For me, afternoon tea is about fun and great tasting food.
There are various discussions online on how to cut these delectable morsels so that you get the classic straight edge! But I make it really easy on myself and I don't even try. If you do decide to try, don't add cream to the filling. You will need the creme patissiere to be stiff and the cream loosens it.
I bake the puff pastry sheets, cut them into squares, and then fill them with creme patissiere or just whipped cream and then top them individually with frosting.
This recipe really does benefit from using classic puff pastry because of the lightness of the layers. If you are really rushed, you can use rough puff pastry and they'll still be delicious.
If you want to be classical, you can leave the cream out of the filling and just fill them with pastry cream (creme patissiere). But we like the lighter version with the cream.
I think traditionally vanilla slices are topped with fondant icing, but I wouldn't make a fondant icing for such a small amount. I use a simple sugar icing and it tastes fantastic.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can make the pastry and the creme patissiere the day before and make these easily just a couple of hours before afternoon tea time.
Vanilla slices are perfect served as part of a full afternoon tea. I love them with chocolate eclairs, mini meringues and chocolate dipped strawberries for a really decadent display on a tiered cake stand. Serve with a plate full of finger sandwiches and Earl Grey tea or fresh mint tea for a truly beautiful afternoon tea spread.
When we have them on their own, I love vanilla slices with Moroccan mint tea.