I am very, very excited about this post.
When I stumbled upon this recipe last week it was a lightbulb moment. These had to be made, and fast.
I bring you New Zealand’s national treasure: I bring you the custard slice.
And if you’ve been there and didn’t love it then we probably won’t get along.
I really like it. Like reeeaaallly like it.
I did a stock take today of the New Zealand paraphernalia that litters my bedroom still (I returned over two years ago). The following were revealed:
1. One full length wetsuit
2. Ridiculous skeepskin boots (that I have never worn)
3. Three (treasured) copies of Taste magazine
The latter was my lifeline to all things culinary during my 7 months without a kitchen. I distinctly remember trawling Kiwi supermarkets hoping to stumble upon back issues.
I hadn’t given it any thought before my visit, but it turns out that Kiwis really know their way around the kitchen. They have amazing produce and they know how to use it.
From the giant green lipped mussels I ate on my first night to catching my own crayfish (and nearly dying), I have so many food memories of New Zealand I hardly know where to begin describing them.
So I will start and end with the noble custard slice.
Pretty much every town in New Zealand has a proper bakery (I know, amazing) and any Kiwi bakery worth its
sugar salt will sell custard slice. I’m no mathematician but that’s a lot of custard per capita.
Did I mention that I want to move to New Zealand?
The custard slice comprises vanilla custard sandwiched between two pieces of puff pastry topped with icing and coconut.
They are delicious.
You should make them.
375g per rolled puff pastry
1. 4 Litres semi skimmed milk
1 cup custard powder
3 tablespoons vanilla extract (yes, really)
6 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and find a 8×8 inch square tin.
2. Roll out the pastry so that it is double the size of the base of the tin. Cut it in half.
3. Place the pastry on non stick baking trays, prick all over with a fork and bake for ten minutes or until light brown.
4. As soon as the pastry comes out of the oven press down on it to release the air and make it thin.
5. Once it has cooled a bit, place one of the pastry sheets it the base of the square tin (you may need to trim to fit).
6. Put 1 litre of the milk in a pan over a medium heat. As it warms, whisk the remaining 400 ml of milk in a jug with the custard powder and vanilla until smooth.
7. Add the custard milk mixture to the milk in the pan and stir continuously as it thickens (to prevent the milk burning).
8. Keep stirring until the custard is very thick, then keep stirring for a further two minutes. The custard must be thicker than you would usually make it.
9. Remove the custard from the heat and pour over the pastry base in the tin.
10. Push the second pastry sheet over the custard, cool and then refridgerate until completely cold.
11. When the slice is cool, mix the sifted icing sugar with the butter and vanilla in a bowl using a spoon. Add a little water to make the icing spreadable.
12. Spread the icing over the slice and sprinkle with coconut. Cut the slice in the tin (the first will no doubt be a “cook’s slice”) and lever out slice by slice with whatever implements you have.