Is this really a recipe? I’m not sure it is, but the end result is delicious. You can easily make it from scratch, or get a similar result with ready made ingredients.
Firstly, you need a shortcrust pastry base. Put it into a flan tin, and prick the base then blind bake it until it just starts to colour.
Next, you need a custardy filling. We made creme patissiere but I don’t see why you can’t just use shop bought custard (ready made or from powder). Pour it into your pasty base.
Third, you need fruit. Strawberries go nicely here… slice in half and lay them on top. You can then glaze them with some apricot jam mixed with hot water.
If you fully bake the base up front then you could just chill it at this point. We hadn’t, so we baked a bit more (but watch out for the fruit catching). End result is a fresh and tasty treat – who doesn’t love strawberries, custard and pastry?
For me, custard cream biscuits remind me of my grandma. We used to visit her every Saturday morning and she would produce a plate of these with a pot of tea. I’ve never really eaten them much since, but whenever I do they bring back those memories.
When I heard that Edd Kimber (winner of the first series of the Great British Bake Off, aka The Boy Who Bakes) had a recipe for custard cream biscuits, I was intrigued. I’d never heard of anyone making them from scratch before, and whilst I had fond memories of them I always thought they were a bit “mass produced”. So when I found myself off work with a back injury which made sitting down painful, spending a day in the kitchen making these was a pleasant distraction.
TL;DR – They’re a million times better than the shop bought version!
For the biscuits
- 225g plain flour
- 50g instant custard powder
- 30g icing sugar
- 175g unsalted butter (chilled and diced)
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
For the filling
- 50g unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 200g icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons of instant custard powder
- Some milk (if required)
Edd makes these biscuits using a food processor. I didn’t because I have an inexplicable aversion to the machines (and particularly cleaning them afterwards!). The instructions below are for making these by hand, but it does require quite a bit of patience and arm strength! If you want the food processor version, you can find it on The English Kitchen blog.
- To start the biscuits, put the flour, icing sugar and custard powder in a bowl and mix together.
- Add the butter and vanilla to the bowl and beat everything together with a wooden spoon. This will take quite a while, but it will eventually come together into a dough.
- Tip the dough onto a piece of cling film and press out into a rough disc, than wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
- Roll the chilled dough out until and cut into biscuit shapes. We used a 5cm round cutter, but for authenticity you could always make rectangles. Prick the top of each biscuit with a fork. Remember to cut an even number of biscuits since you need a top and bottom for each finished biscuit!
- Chill the biscuits in the fridge for another 10 minutes.
- Place the biscuits on lined baking trays and bake in the oven at 180℃ for about 10 minutes or until just starting to turn golden brown around the edges.
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack (they need to be properly cooled before you apply the filling).
- To make the filling, put the butter, sugar and custard powder in a bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon to form a paste. If it’s too thick to spread on the biscuits, add a little bit of milk.
- Finally, assemble your biscuits by putting a layer of filling between pairs of the biscuits.
These really are sublime, and outshine the shop bought versions in every way. We stored ours in an air tight container and they kept for the best part of a week (well… nearly… they were eaten quite quickly!).