Instant Pudding Is The Secret Weapon For Easy Australian Vanilla Slice

It's a dessert with many nicknames, depending on where in Australia you happen to be. To some they're known as a "phlegm sandwich" and to others, the dessert is known as a "snot-block". And while the offhand manner with which Aussies describe vanilla slice has triggered a fair bit of shock, there is no doubt that it remains a beloved snack. However, no one is quite certain how vanilla slice came to be, although bakers are fairly certain that it was inspired by France's mille-feuille, the continental European dessert made with layers of light puff pastry and rich cream.  

Still, Australia isn't the first country to come up with its own version of the dish because it is seen in other cultures too. Hong Kong and Poland also have their own variations of the sweet treat. Australian vanilla slice is also more than just a snack to those who enjoy it. "It's a really nostalgic item," Bake Club Founder Anneka Manning told SBS. "It's the kind of thing you eat as a kid in the canteen at school, or from a beloved childhood bakery. It has a really special place in Australian culture – even if it's not uniquely ours." 

If you're interested in making the dish yourself, here's an easy hack that will give you the perfect texture. 

How instant vanilla pudding can help pull off this dessert

Australia's vanilla slice comes with a twist. While mille-feuille may not sit so high and comes with three layers of pastry and two layers of cream, Australian bakers have done away with the center layer of pastry and instead made the dessert's cream center a bit thicker. Having a stodgier center is particularly important since the pastry is meant to hold its shape, even after it is cut into portions. 

However, even experienced cooks like Manning admit it takes a certain level of skill to work out how stiff a custard needs to be so it doesn't ooze out after it's cut. But help is on the way, thanks to this TikTok hack, which suggests you make the filling with instant vanilla pudding instead of pastry cream, which gives the center more structure and more integrity. You start by pre-baking sheets of puff pastry, leaving them to cool and crisp, then spreading the vanilla pudding in the center of the slice. Now, you'll be ready to enjoy this deceptively simple dessert and not have to worry about it falling apart.