Vanilla Cheesecake Slice

Here's for some more Father's Day bakerage. I spent dinner on Father's Day with my dad, but for lunch we spent it over at my boyfriend's place with his dad and immediate family.

Occasions with his family are often a food-centred affair, but particularly so if it's a celebration. If we go out for the meal, there's usually more food and hot drinks waiting to be consumed at home. If it's all home cooked food, you can be sure that there's going to be more food than you could dream of finishing, and then some. All of it is as delicious as it is plentiful and you will find yourself lamenting the appetite required to try it all. Or at least I do. The boys usually find a way to squeeze most, if not all, of it in. Us girls can seldom match their appetite, but we all still insist on making an enormous amount of food.

When we're dining at his place, I seldom bring things along mainly because there's so much already. I'm often caught somewhere in between feeling like I should contribute, and being too self-conscious about doing so. For this occasion, I decided to bring something. Knowing there would be an abundance of food already, I settled for something small.

After a delicious lunch, there definitely was an abundance of dessert. His sister-in-law brought a delicious ginger cake she'd baked, and his mum provided a hummingbird cake as well as platters of different biscuits, nuts, chocolates and other sweets. In between these two courses, we all had this vanilla cheesecake slice:


This slice is a layer of vanilla custard and a layer of vanilla cheesecake sandwiched between two layers of puff pastry. 

It's then dusted in icing sugar and patterned with a caramelised lattice.

It is a little difficult to cut when fresh. You need a hot knife and a bit of patience to avoid squishing the custard out in every direction. With care, you'll end up with two even layers of filling. Once the slice has been refrigerated for a day or two and the pastry has taken up some of the moisture, it is much easier to cut through — if you can wait that long!

Cut the slices as big…

… or as small as you like.

I cut them into 16 squares. At this size, it was large enough to enjoy while still leaving plenty of room for more dessert (or a second slice if you can't resist). If serving as a dessert or treat by itself, you may want to cut it into 9 or 12 pieces.

I didn't use any gelatine in the custard portion. If you want to stabilise it and make the slice easier to cut, you can add the same amount required for the cheesecake layer. If aesthetics doesn't bother you, you don't have to bother with it.

Now to be all Mother Hen: If you are going to make the caramelised sugar lattice, please use caution in doing so. In order for it to work, the skewer needs to be red hot (literally, the metal will turn red) or close to. If it is not hot enough, your sugar won't caramelise. This can deceive you into thinking the skewer is not hot – don't touch it to check. While not hot enough to burn the sugar, it will be more than hot enough to burn your skin. 

If you sucessfully caramelise the sugar, it will smoke so do this in a well ventilated room and be wary of it getting in your eyes as it will irritate them. Lastly, if you do heat the skewer to the point it is glowing red, it may ignite a flame once you touch it to the sugar. This will quickly burn itself out, but do be mindful of this when attempting this technique. Don't work around distractions (kids, pets, etc) as them plus flame and metal can cause a painful accident.

If you would rather skip this part, just dust the top of the slice with icing sugar, or add any other topping you prefer. 

Vanilla Cheesecake Slice 

Ingredients

Custard Layer
1/2 cup (110g) icing sugar
1/3 cup (50g) cornflour
1/4 cup (30g) custard powder
2 cups (500ml) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
40g butter, chopped
2 egg yolks

Cheesecake Layer
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
1 tablespoon water
250g cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
3/4 cup (180ml) cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

2x 23cm squares of puff pastry
icing sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 240°C (220°C fan-forced/465°F). Line a 23cm square cake pan with greaseproof paper, foil or cling wrap. Line or grease a large baking tray.
  2. Place puff pastry on baking tray; prick all over with a fork and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden in colour. Leave aside to cool; flatten if necessary and place one sheet into the cake tin.
  3. To make custard; blend dry ingredients in a medium saucepan with 1/4 cup of milk. Ensure no lumps remain, then add the rest of the milk and the vanilla. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens; stir in egg yolks and butter until smooth and well incorporated. Pour into cake pan and spread evenly over pastry. 
  4. To make the cheesecake layer; sprinkle gelatin over water inside a small heatproof jug or glass. Simmer in a small saucepan of water, stirring, until gelatin disovles. Remove pan from heat and let stand. Beat cream cheese and sugar in a medium mixing bowl until smooth. Beat in cream and vanilla essence; beat in gelatine. Spread over custard layer
  5. Top with second sheet of pastry; gently press down to ensure it adheres. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Once set, remove from pan and place on a large platter or chopping board. 
  6. To make sugar lattice; dust the top of the pastry with a generous layer of icing sugar. Heat a metal skewer over a flame until red hot (a gas hotplate is idea for this) then drag in a straight line across the surface of the icing sugar. To make this process quicker, I use two metal skewers and leave one to heat over the hotplate while using the second to caramelise the sugar. You will need to re-heat them several times. Use a cloth to wipe the skewers of any remaining icing sugar between bouts. 
  7. Cut into 9, 12 or 16 slices. 

You'll find the printable version of this recipe here.

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4 thoughts on “Vanilla Cheesecake Slice

  1. This was such a delicious dessert. It was amazing!

    I’m a little finicky when it comes to custard and sometimes custard has way too much gelatin in it and ultimately spoils it. This was so creamy and delectable I could’ve eaten more if it weren’t for the many other nibblies on hand.

    Thanks heaps for giving my ginger cake props too! Hehe!

  2. This reminds me of krémes, a Hungarian dessert I like to nickname ‘wobbly cake’. I really recommend it.
    This also looks fantastic and I want to try making this sometime.

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