With all the talk in the news of custard creams being such a popular biscuit I was keen to have a go at baking some. I have to say I was surprised as given the choice, the custard cream would be the last one I’d pick. In fact I would probably walk away rather than eat one. I’ve always thought they were dry and boring.
Nevertheless, home made custard creams could be a vast improvement on shop bought so I did a search online for some recipes and my favourite was by The boy who bakes.
However, all the recipes I found contained custard powder. For someone who is obsessed with making everything from scratch, this didn’t go down well so I was curious to know if I could use real custard instead.
I began looking into the contents of custard powder, thinking it was real custard, freeze dried but it’s actually a mixture of cornflour, salt, annatto colouring to make it yellow and some vanilla flavouring. Not an egg in sight. In fact it was invented by Alfred Bird in 1837 as his wife was allergic to eggs.
Was it worth trying to reinvent the wheel – not really. Just this once I gave in and used the custard powder I found stashed at the back of the larder. One thing I do know about custard powder is that mice love it, so if you need something as bait, try it out.
As I didn’t have much butter in the house, I cobbled together my own recipe and here it is.
Makes 12 complete biscuits with a spare half for tasting!
- 100g margarine
- 100g plain flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g custard powder
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
- 50g butter, softened
- 100g icing sugar
- 25g custard powder
- 1/2 tsp limoncino (limoncello would be fine) or vanilla paste for biscuits suitable for children
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix well until a soft dough is formed.
- Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to approx 1/2 cm thickness.
- Using your preferred cookie cutter, cut out shapes, ensuring there is an even number – one for the top and one for the bottom.
- Place on a greased baking tray and prick each shape with a fork.
- Place in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Keep an eye on them, you don’t want them too dark.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack.
- In a food mixer beat the butter until smooth. Add the sifted icing sugar, custard powder and limoncino and mix in slowly at first, until well combined.
- Arrange the biscuits in pairs with centres uppermost.
- Spoon the filling into a piping bag with a star nozzle attached and pipe onto one half of each pair. Alternatively, you can spread on with a pallet knife.
- Place the other half centre down on top of the icing and push gently. Don’t push too hard or the filling will squash out.
- Leave somewhere cool to set and then enjoy with a nice cup of tea.
These were so easy to make and they taste fantastic – not in the least dry. The biscuit was light and crumbly and the cream filling was absolutely delicious, especially with that little tang of limoncino, although I’m sure vanilla would be just as good.
Next week maybe I’ll tackle my second least favourite biscuit – bourbon.