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Espresso martini vanilla slice

This coffee-lover’s version of vanilla slice is truly something special. Sandwiched between the crispy pastry are two creamy layers – vanilla custard and coffee custard. To serve, pour the espresso martini syrup over the top (yes, it contains vodka!). Make sure to allow at least 4 hours chilling time so it’s a great dessert to make the day before.

Allergens: Recipe may contain gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, milk and soy.


13 Ingredients


  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, just thawed

  • 3 tsp instant coffee granules (see notes)

  • 625ml (2 1/2 cups) milk

  • 250ml (1 cup) pouring cream

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 140g (2/3 cup) caster sugar

  • 70g (1/2 cup) cornflour

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Chocolate-coated coffee beans, to serve (optional)
  • Espresso syrup


  • 2 tbsp vodka

  • 3 tsp cornflour

  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) freshly brewed espresso

8 Method Steps


  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place 1 pastry sheet on the prepared tray. Top with a sheet of baking paper and another baking tray on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden. Remove top tray and paper. Bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Set aside to cool completely. Repeat with remaining pastry sheet.

  • Step 2

    Grease base and sides of a 23cm square cake pan. Line with baking paper, allowing the paper to overhang 2cm above the sides. Place 1 pastry sheet in base of prepared pan, trimming to fit.

  • Step 3

    Place the coffee granules
    (3 tsp instant coffee granules (see notes))
    , half the milk
    (625ml (2 1/2 cups) milk)
    and half the cream
    (250ml (1 cup) pouring cream)
    in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the mixture almost comes to the boil. Remove from heat.

  • Step 4

    Whisk together half the egg yolks
    (6 egg yolks)
    , half the sugar
    (140g (2/3 cup) caster sugar)
    and half the cornflour
    (70g (1/2 cup) cornflour)
    in a large bowl. Gradually whisk the coffee mixture into the egg mixture until well combined. Return mixture to pan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until the custard thickens and comes to the boil. Spoon the hot custard over the pastry in the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Place in the fridge.

  • Step 5

    Place the vanilla
    (2 tsp vanilla extract)
    , remaining milk and cream in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the mixture almost comes to the boil. Remove from heat.

  • Step 6

    Whisk together remaining egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl. Gradually whisk the vanilla mixture into the egg mixture until well combined. Return mixture to pan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until the custard thickens and comes to the boil. Spoon the hot vanilla custard over the coffee custard layer and smooth the surface. Top with the remaining pastry sheet, trimming to fit. Press lightly to secure. Cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight to set.

  • Step 7

    Meanwhile, to make the espresso syrup, combine the vodka
    (2 tbsp vodka)
    and cornflour
    (3 tsp cornflour)
    in a small bowl. Place the sugar
    (100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar)
    and coffee
    (125ml (1/2 cup) freshly brewed espresso)
    in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes or until the syrup has thickened. Add the vodka mixture and stir until combined. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Boil for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat. Transfer to a small heatproof bowl and set aside to cool. Place in the fridge until required.

  • Step 8

    Cut the slice into 9 squares. Drizzle over espresso syrup and scatter over the coffee beans, if using, to serve.
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Recipe Notes

Coffee brands vary in strength. Start with 2 tsp and add more to taste. 

Image by Liz Macri

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