•May 8, 2009 • 3 Comments
The Monarch ‘Continental Custard Vanilla’ Slices sat huddled together for comfort beside their evil twin, The Vanilla Cream Slice. The wanton Cream Slice enticed successfully with vampish wickedness. The plain Custard Slice was forlorn, not popular. Although this sweet, good twin stood high and had the perfect amount of icing sugar dusting its crown, biting in was not easy. To use a fork required a stable surface with which to gain some traction. The reward was crisp and tasty pastry and so far the most perfect of all crusts. The custard was thick and held together smoothly. One bite, no vanilla flavour. Two bites, no egg flavour – but perhaps a vaguely perceptible whiff of lemon? Poor plain Jane Custard Slice. So much potential given up for the evil twin of cream. Baby doll, you won’t shine until they get some decent free range eggs into your custard. Now go back and stand in your corner.
¦ Icing ♥♥♥♥¦ Pastry ♥♥♥♥♥ ¦ Custard ♥♥¦ Degree of difficulty ♥♥¦ 13/20
Monarch Cakes 103 Acland Street, St.Kilda, Victoria, Australia.
•July 7, 2008 • 11 Comments
Tall and blonde with a creamy complexion it stood like an Yummy-Mummy in a shiny black SUV, looking down on the traffic of cakes around it. A modern two storey twin set of pastel hues overlaid with a filigree of icing, this Brown’s vanilla slice had built its vocation on good looks and being in the right places. Technically it was fine – creamy with decent pastry and attractive icing – but the flavours were as beige as a Bayside Mansion’s feature walls. Cumbersome and uptight, it was as big a disaster to navigate as a Porsche Cayenne in school gate gridlock. With custard like Prozac, this was just another ding in the fender on the road to perfection.
¦ Icing ♥♥♥½¦ Pastry ♥♥♥♥ ¦ Custard ♥♥♥½¦ Degree of difficulty ♥♥♥¦ 14/20
Brown’s Bakery 1/101 Dundas Place, Albert Park, Victoria. Australia.
Also in Brighton, Canterbury, Carlton, Doncaster, Hampton, Hawkesburn, Hawthorn, Malvern, Moonee Ponds and Toorak
•July 1, 2008 • 3 Comments
Like a two-bit heroine in a 1950’s B grade melodrama, the icing flattened itself to the paper bag and clung on for dear life. As though dragging a wench in fishnet stockings across the floor, the paper came away with a thick coating of sweet white icing emblazoned with a diagonal chocolate slash. And like all messy drama queens this vanilla slice was hard to handle, flaky and oozing sensuously. Wicked temptation yielded momentary pleasure, creamy egg custard was licked off sticky fingers and the quality pastry diverted attention from the soft vanilla icing. And then just as quickly it was over, distant like a cheap memory, with minds set on the next conquest.
¦ Icing ♥♥♥ ¦ Pastry ♥♥♥♥♥ ¦ Custard ♥♥♥♥♥ ¦ Degree of difficulty ♥♥♥½ ¦ 16.5/20
Woodend Bakery Cafe 122 High Street, Woodend, Victoria. Australia.
•March 27, 2008 • 6 Comments
An audible gasp, a look of disbelief….applause….what a delivery! After dismissing a couple of vanilla slices in the wake of the Beechworth Beauty, we were desperate for something special. A month had passed but there had been no runs scored in our test. Then instead of another duck came this – the back to back, Grand Champion of The 2006 & 2007 Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph, professional section. Currently rated Australia’s Slice of Perfection, and rightly so. The custard and pastry were perfect; a sweet, soft, eggy vanilla cream sandwiched between wood fired crisp, unsweetened buttery pastry and topped off with a meltingly soft, sticky icing. The runs were back on the board and we instead, had been bowled clean over. Sensational!
¦ Icing ♥♥♥♥½ ¦ Pastry ♥♥♥♥♥ ¦ Custard ♥♥♥♥♥ ¦ Degree of difficulty ♥♥♥♥ ¦ 18.5/20
Tatura Hot Bread 130 Hogan Street, Tatura, Victoria. Australia.
•February 10, 2008 • 7 Comments
The Beechworth Bakery Vanilla Slice is lusciously shabby. It was a hot sticky day when we met and the vanilla icing oozed like a nightclub romeo, but it was sweet and soft and clung tenderly to the pastry like a love-sick puppy. The flaky, perfectly cooked pastry was just the right thickness to support the creamy custard and the two hit the tongue like a smooth love song – deep, rich and tasty. A breeze to eat with the hands, it left us licking our fingers seductively. Like a stolen moment of passion we began planning the next rendezvous like an illicit secret.
¦ Icing ♥♥♥♥¦ Pastry ♥♥♥♥ ¦ Custard ♥♥♥♥½¦ Degree of difficulty ♥♥♥♥¦ 16.5/20
Beechworth Bakery 27 Camp Street, Beechworth, Victoria. Australia.
Also in Albury, Ballarat, Bendigo, Echuca and Healesville
•February 4, 2008 • 5 Comments
“Our family hasn’t stopped baking since 1852” read the sticker on the pack…and boy must they be tired! Their slices definitely were. This Victorian era pastry arrived with a wet top of melted icing sugar crowning it like the cap of a sweaty old cook, while a layer of damp pastry strayed from under the crown like a mad woman’s blouse. The custard had a pleasant eggy flavour highlighted by vanilla essence, but the copious amount of cornflour used made it firm to the point that it became a menacingly bulging muffin top when the fork hit the impenetrable pastry. It then bounced back into shape. This Vanilla Slice posed a conundrum: the fatty tasting pastry could not be eaten with a fork and the custard could not be eaten without one. Had this graced the parlour at tea time, Her Majesty would not have been amused.
¦ Icing ♥♥½¦ Pastry ♥♥ ¦ Custard ♥♥♥½¦ Degree of difficulty ♥♥¦ 10/20
Delbake 478 Centre Road, Bentleigh, Victoria. Australia.
•January 29, 2008 • 1 Comment
Tall and handsome, this Casanova seduced with its fine looks. Capped with a marbled icing it reeked of class and whispered invitingly, “I’m the one you’ve been dreaming of. Just lick me”. But like a Don Juan, after the seduction it was callow and disappointing. The icing hit the tastebuds like a sycophantically sweet cajoling. The pastry tasted good but was soft and sloppy like a teenager’s first kiss. As the tongue darted in for the custard it recoiled from a pale, sticky goo with a very pronounced flavour that was just not quite right. Was there uncooked corn starch in the mix? The fork could not pierce the icing and impossible to eat with the fingers, it left in its wake the bitterness of feeling deceived and violated by a sleazy charlatan.
¦ Icing ♥♥♥¦ Pastry ♥♥½ ¦ Custard ♥♥½ ¦ Degree of difficulty ♥♥¦ 10/20
Jean-Pierre Gateau 1/44 Como Parade, Mentone, Vic. Australia.