Dessert always tastes sweeter if you feel that you have earned it. And taking a one and a half hour drive through the country side to get to a bakery that makes; what have been proclaimed by a friend to be the world’s greatest vanilla slices; feels like earning it to me.
Bourkies’ Bakehouse in Woodend won Victoria’s Best Vanilla Slice Competition in 2003 and 2004. I have to admit that I am often dubious of a business that still proclaims its triumphs years after the event. It sparks the idea that maybe they haven’t won more recently because they have rested on their laurels or even gone downhill since then. However this isn’t what we found at Bourkies’ and a quick check of the Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph website found that they did indeed win the ‘innovative’ category in 2010.
Forget the day old snot blocks from the milk bar at the end of the street of your childhood. These vanilla slices have crisp pastry and a glistening fondant top. The pink slices have a faint strawberry flavour to them but it is the custard that really brings them into legend status. Rich and creamy it’s hard to resist the urge to squeeze the pastry squares together and just suck the custard out the edge.
And it better be a morning tea treat that you are after. We have been on the hunt for vanilla slices in the afternoon and found that they have sold out. From all reports they sell out regularly.It’s not all about the vanilla slices though. They make scrumptious vegie pasties and adorable cupcakes too.
On second thoughts sitting in a car for an hour and a half isn’t really earning my indulgence. I might have to jog there next time.