A mother experimenting with affordable cookery has created a lavish grazing platter laden with vanilla pastries, jam, whipped cream, an assortment of berries and luscious passionfruit icing for less than $10.
Kate Freebairn is the founder of The Pantry Mama, an amateur food blog that specialises in fun, simple recipes to help parents ‘cook amid the chaos of family life’.
The mother-of-three, who lives near Bunbury in country South Australia, arranged her dessert board from two sheets of budget puff pastry, a tub of whipping cream, a punnet of strawberries, half a jar of raspberry jam and homemade custard.
Ms Freebairn said it took ‘very little effort to create something that looks delightful’, at very little cost.
The lavish vanilla slice dessert platter created by Kate Freebairn – aka The Pantry Mama – for less than $10, using ready-made puff pastry, cream, homemade custard and strawberries
Ms Freebairn’s platter served up with filling on top of the pastries
To make the vanilla slices, she cut each sheet of pastry into 12 small squares and laid them on a baking tray, brushing the tops with egg which turns pastry golden and crispy in the oven.
She baked them at 180 degrees for roughly five minutes, leaving to cool on a wire tray before dusting with icing sugar.
Meanwhile, she whipped the cream and started her DIY vanilla custard, which she made from two eggs, 50grams of flour, 50grams of sugar and 500mls of milk, combined together in a saucepan over a low heat until thick and glossy.
As the pastry cooled, she made the icing by mixing a quarter of a cup of passionfruit pulp with half a cup of icing sugar until creamy and smooth.
Once every element was complete, she arranged the fillings and pastries on a large platter and served it up to her husband and three little boys.
A similar grazing board shared by an amateur chef on Facebook, inspired by the affordability of Ms Freebairn’s creation
To save time, Ms Freebairn said you can use a tub of double cream instead of whipping it from scratch, and pour ready-made custard into a pot instead of making your own.
She also suggested switching puff pastry for lattice biscuits if you don’t have time to bake, which can be found in most Coles and Woolworths.
Ingredients for a vanilla pastry platter for less than $10
– 2 sheets of supermarket own brand puff pastry ($1.50)
– 300 ml tub whipping cream ($1.80)
– Homemade passionfruit icing ($2)
– Homemade vanilla egg custard ($1.50)
– 1/2 jar of Raspberry Jam ($1)
– Tub of strawberries ($2)
Total cost: $9.80
Source: The Pantry Mama
Extra fillings and accompaniments like blueberries, raspberries, lemon curd, grated chocolate or flavoured cream cheese can also be added to ‘supersize’ your platter at a small additional cost.
The idea has inspired others to arrange their own homemade platters, including one woman who shared photos of her design in a household group on Facebook last week.
She added bowls of Nutella and cream laced with chocolate icing sugar and scattered strawberries around the edge of the tray for decoration.
Quick and easy to make, vanilla bites have become one of Australia’s most popular DIY desserts since the country entered lockdown with the closure of bars, cafes and restaurants on March 23.
Last month, Sydney mother Adela Lovrencic shared her simple recipe for the pastries which can be made from four ingredients in an air fryer in less than 10 minutes.
Ms Lovrencic shared the recipe in a cookery group on Facebook, showing others how to make a batch with two sheets of ready-made puff pastry, milk, icing sugar and a packet of instant vanilla pudding – all of which can be bought for just $6.85 from major supermarkets.
Sydney mother Adela Lovrencic made these bite-size vanilla pastries in an air fryer in 10 minutes from $6.85 worth of ingredients
Everything you need to bake DIY vanilla bites
Ready-made puff pastry – $2.30
Cottee’s vanilla pudding mix – $1.45
Icing sugar – $1.85
Litre of full cream milk – $1.25
Total cost: $6.85
(All available at Woolworths)
Kmart air fryer – $69
To start, Ms Lovrencic cut the dough into small chunks suitable for kids and cooked them in an air fryer at 180 degrees for roughly six minutes until golden and flaky.
‘Spread them out in one layer and make sure they don’t touch the edges of the air fryer,’ she said.
While the pastry crisped, she whisked 700ml of milk into Cottee’s instant vanilla pudding powder for one minute to create a thick, creamy custard.
Once cooled, she sliced each pastry shell in half and loaded one side with vanilla custard, sprinkling icing sugar over the top for decoration and extra sweetness.
The pastries can be filled with any condiments like Nutella, jam, traditional custard or pureed banana, or left empty and arranged on a platter with fillings on the side as Ms Freebairn did.