Dads are worth their weight in gold, and my dad is certainly no
exception. Over the years he’s not only cleaned and dressed my grazed knees and accompanied me to the hospital with broken bones, but he’s also taught me how to hang wallpaper, point stone walls and change the tyres on a car! So with Father’s Day just around the corner and knowing how
much he adores Bavarian Slices I donned my apron and made a small batch
of this patisserie classic, adding my own little delicious twist along the way in the form of fresh raspberries.
A Bavarian Slice is very similar to a custard slice. The bakes are both constructed like a sandwich with puff pastry encasing a layer of thick creamy custard and decorated with a sweet icing to the upper pastry surface. However, the Bavarian Slice is a little more indulgent, and dare I say posher, than the slightly plainer custard slice with its layer of jam sat snugly beneath the creamier filling. The icing is also usually finished with the classic feathering pattern too.
This type of patisserie is usually assembled in a high sided baking tray, like a brownie pan. It enables the baker to achieve the classically smooth edges of a Bavarian or custard slice. However, wanting to allow the fresh raspberries in my version the chance to peak out of the sides, I decided to assemble each portion individually. This isn’t as difficult as it may sound, and results in a slightly home-made appearance which I personally like.
My Bavarian Slices are relatively straightforward to make. The raw pastry is laid onto a baking sheet and weighted down with another tray, to prevent it puffing up, before baking until golden and crisp. The custard is cooked on the hob slowly until thickened, it is enriched with butter rather than whipped double cream. The cooled pastry is then trimmed to size, spread with a fruity jam, and topped with a few raspberries before the thick custard is piped onto the jam layer. The second piece of pastry is positioned on top once it has been iced and decorated with a chocolate feathering.
Some of you may know of my love for making pastry, but there are occasions when there simply isn’t enough time for all of that rolling, folding and chilling which puff pastry demands. So knowing that shop bought pastry is pretty good, I was more than happy to buy a pack for these Bavarian Slices. I used a 320g pack of Jus-Rol All Butter puff pastry, which made 4 generous portions. The shop bought block pastry, which needs rolling out, is a little larger at 500g and so, if using all of it, you will need to increase the volume of the custard and other fillings too. That of course does have the delicious result of increasing the yield of these Bavarian Slices which can be shared with friends and family.
Now, when reading about Bavarian and custard slices I found quite a discrepancy about how long the assembled bake stays fresh before the pastry is spoilt (due to the moisture from the custard and icing). Some suggested to eat within 2 hours of assembling, others said to chill the assembled slices for 4 hours before serving. Although it was shared with my parents almost immediately after the assembly, I personally had to wait a few hours before I could sit down to enjoy my slice due to a weekly clay throwing class I have joined . Five hours later with a pot of tea in one hand and a Bavarian Slice in the other I found the bake still to be fresh and crisp, and in no way spoilt. However, if you need them to last a little longer than this, it may be an idea to consider painting the internal face of the pastry (those surfaces which will be in contact with the custard) with a melted white chocolate, a technique often used in fruit tarts.
With the sweet chocolatey icing, against the crisp flaky buttery pastry, teamed with the creamy custard and sharp fresh raspberries this bake was an absolute winner. My parents have already placed an order for another batch! There’s not much which can beat a Bavarian Slice enjoyed with friends and family when served with a pot of your favourite tea.
So let’s get to it and bake.
Bavarian Slice Yum
Yield: 4 generous Bavarian Slices (measures approx 10cm x 6.5cm)
Time: hands on time about 45 minutes; plus 30 – 60 minutes total bake time (depending on if you need to batch bake the pastry); plus cooling and chilling time.
You will need:
2 Baking Trays of equal size
Plain Round Piping Nozzle
For the Puff Pastry
320g Pack of ready rolled Puff Pastry (we used Jus Rol’s All Butter Puff Pastry, but a lighter version, block or home made pastry would be equally good)
Plain Flour, for dusting
For the Custard (creme patisserie)
150ml Single Cream
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
75g Golden Caster Sugar (or white caster sugar)
3 large Egg, Yolks of
20g Unsalted Butter, cubed
For the Raspberry Layer
2 – 3 tbsp raspberry jam
24 – 40 Fresh raspberries (I used 6 per portion)
For the Icing Decoration
4 tbsp Icing Sugar
6 squares Milk Chocolate
How to make them:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200c / Fan 180c / Gas 6.
2. Prepare the pastry for baking. Unroll the pastry keeping it on the greaseproof paper supplied. With a rolling pin lightly roll the pastry to flatten it if necessary, dusting the pin lightly with flour. Lay the pastry and greaseproof paper on a baking tray, cover with another sheet of greaseproof paper and sit the second tray on top. Weigh this down with a pudding bowl or tin can. Depending upon the size of your trays, you may need to slice the pastry in half and bake in batches, as I did.
3. Bake the pastry.
Place the prepared pastry in the centre of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, checking it after 20 minutes. Rotate the tray around if necessary. Once cooked through and golden brown remove from the oven and carefully transfer the pastry to a cooling tray.
4. Make the custard (crème patissiere). Pour the cream, milk and vanilla
extract into a medium heavy based pan and sit it over a medium
heat. Using a balloon whisk, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, and
corn flour in a bowl sat on a tea towel, adding a little of the cool measured milk if it’s particularly thick. Once the milk is about to come
to the boil slowly pour about a quarter of the milk over the egg mixture
whisking constantly. Decant the remainder of the milk into the bowl, continuing to mix. Pour the runny custard mixture back into the pan and set it on the hob heat. Reduce the heat to low. Cook the custard slowly, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon until very thick.
If the custard starts go go lumpy remove from the heat and beat vigorously. Once the custard is thick empty it into a bowl (passing it through a sieve if necessary). Add half of the cubed butter and stir gently but thoroughly to combine. Add the remainder of the butter, stirring until it has fully melted and been incorporated with the custard. Cover with cling film so that the film
is in contact with the mixture. Set aside to cool. Once cooled place in the fridge to firm up further.
5. Trim the pastry.
Place the cooled pastry on a clean work surface and with a sharp knife carefully trim the edges of the pastry. Having decided roughly how large you’d like each Bavarian Slice, cut the pastry to those approximate dimensions (ours were 10cm x 6.5cm). Pair up the pastry squares / oblongs. If one is larger then the other simply place the smaller one on top of the larger one and trim the excess away with a sharpe knife. Position the pastry on a preparation board (which you’re happy to go into the fridge) with its pair.
6. Prepare the fillings. Place the jam in a bowl and stir thoroughly to soften. If it needs slackening any further simply add a drop or two of water. Stir the custard thoroughly and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Decide how many raspberries each Bavarian Slice will have and portion them up into similar sizes.
7. Make the water icing.
Place the icing sugar into a cup or small bowl and add a teaspoon of water. Mix. Slowly add drips of water mixing between each addition to get the mixture to the desired consistency. It needs to be quite thick.
8. Melt the chocolate. Break the chocolate into a small bowl and set it over a pan containing a small amount of water. Ensure the water doesn’t touch the base of the pan. Set over a medium heat and allow to melt. Once melted remove from the heat and set aside.
9. Begin assembling the Bavarian Slices. Meanwhile, assemble the Bavarian Slices on the preparation board. Decide which pastry slice of each pair will be used for the lid. Spoon some jam onto the pastry squares which have been identified for the bases. Use the back of a spoon to spread the jam from the centre to the edges. Position the fresh equal sized raspberries along the edge of the pastry, open side down so that they stand upright easily. Pipe the custard between each of the raspberries and through the middle length of the pastry, aiming it to be at least as tall as the raspberries. Avoid getting too near the pastry edge.
10. Decorate the top slice of pastry. Spoon the icing sugar
onto the pastry squares which have been reserved for the top. This needs to be quite a
thick layer. Spread it out with the back of a teaspoon from the centre
to the edges. Use a teaspoon to dribble five parallel evenly spaced lines of
chocolate along the short length of the pastry. Aim to keep generous
blocks of white icing clear of chocolate. Feather the chocolate into the icing by running the point of a small knife firmly but gently up the length of the pastry a centimetre or so from the left edge. Run the knife down the middle and then back up the right hand side about a centimetre from the right hand edge. Carefully lift the decorated piece of pastry and
gently position on to the raspberries and custard.
11. Chill. Place the preparation board and Bavarian Slices in
the fridge for about an hour. When ready to serve, use a pallet knife
or similar to move them to a serving plate.
a) The ready rolled puff pastry was bought for convenience and its neat edges. Block pastry will work just as well. Aim to roll the pastry into a neat oblong to avoid wasting too much pastry through the need to trim excessively. The pastry will need to be rolled to about 5mm thick.
b) Block ready made pastry contains more grams per unit, therefore if using all of the pastry you will need to increase the other ingredients too, particularly the custard.
c) I chose to use an ‘All Butter’ pastry in this bake due to the increased flavour it brings, but obviously feel free to use a lower fat version if you prefer.
d) Should you need to bake your pastry in batches, like I did, allow the trays to cool before placing the raw dough onto them.
e) Your remaining egg whites can be frozen in an airtight container, with a note on the outside stating how many it contains. Once defrosted they’ll be good to use in another bake.
f) Should you need your Bavarian Slices to remain fresh and crisp for a number of hours, consider painting the internal surfaces of the pastry with melted white chocolate prior to assembling. This usually done on fruit pastry tarts made from a sweet pastry, but, although I’ve not attempted this with puff pastry, it should be possible by being careful with the flaky nature of the puff pastry.
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