I can’t remember why I decided to try and make a batch of custard creams. I think I caught sight of the lovely Hope & Greenwood confectionery cookbook on my Amazon recommendations (I haven’t bought it yet if you’d like to send a copy my way) and was overwhelmed with nostalgia for ten-penny mix-ups, blue panda pops and ‘special occasion’ biscuits presented on a saucer by my nan.
I feel you have to respect a woman who regarded custard creams as sophisticated but repeatedly rejected my requests for ‘flashy’ party rings. This recipe is my attempt to find a middle-ground: somewhere between the baroque swirl-adorned custard cream we know and love and an altogether more modern mouthful.
For the biscuits
- 225g plain flour
- 50g custard powder
- 30g icing sugar
- 175g refrigerated butter (unsalted)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
For the buttercream filling
- 50g softened butter (unsalted)
- 200g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp custard powder
For the biscuits
- Place the flour, custard powder, icing sugar into a bowl and mix (preferably using an electric mixer for ease)
- Chop the butter in to small cubes and add it, and vanilla bean paste, to the flour mixture
- Mix until the dough starts to come together, finishing off with a quick knead by hand
- Tip the mixture out onto a surface and bring together into a ball (there should be a really pleasing golden-custardy colour to the dough at this stage and it will smell wonderful)
- Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for around 30 minutes (and no less than 20)
- While the mixture’s in the fridge preheat the oven to 160oC
- Once chilled, place the dough on a floured surface and roll to the thickness of a pound coin
- Cut out small rounds (mine were about 3cm in diameter) and prick with a fork
- Place on a baking tray parchment lined with parchment and bake for 10 minutes (or until just starting to colour around the edges). Watch them carefully – they go from perfect to crispy in moments!
- Cool on a wire rack
For the buttercream
- Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy
- Slowly incorporate the icing sugar and custard powder and beat until smooth and fluffy
Place the buttercream into a piping bag and pipe onto half of the biscuits sandwiching together with a second biscuit. These can be fragile little biscuits so a light touch goes a long way here. And there you have it, a batch of approximately 20 biscuits that will last for a few days in an airtight container or around 30 second if left unattended on a ‘special occasion’ saucer.