Custard Cream Hearts
When we were growing up any treats we had were made by my Mam, so scones, maderia cake and apple tart were all we ever knew – icing on cakes was never a concept I was familiar with! On a very rare Sunday afternoon Mam would unearth a packet of bourbon biscuits from the back of the cupboard (probably the equivalent of Tesco “Own Brand”) and we’d all salivate at the very idea of being given a shop bought biscuits – oh the luxury of it. The 8 of us would be allowed one biscuit each and then to democratically decide which of us got to have a second biscuit (probably only 10 biscuits altogether in the packet), Mam would write all our names on little pieces of paper, wrap up the piece of paper and Dad would pick out the names of the winners – the prize being one of the last bourbon biscuits in the packet. How sad were we!
I saw a recipe for custard creams in “Feast” by Nigella Lawson and it brought me straight back to the kitchen table 25 years ago, fighting over the last “fancy” shop bought biscuit. In honour of my biscuit starved youth, I bring you “Custard Cream Hearts”. They taste exactly like (but a gazillion times better than – I know, a bit of an oxymoron there) custard creams that you buy, even though the filling is much creamier and the batch I made was much thicker than a biscuit you would buy. If there is such a thing as a luxury custard cream range, this is it. Most definitely one of the best tasting biscuits EVER!
Custard Cream Hearts from "Feast" by Nigella Lawson
For the biscuits
175g plain flour
2 tbsp custard powder
1 tsp baking powder
50g unsalted butter
50g vegetable shortening
3 tbsp caster sugar
For the custard cream
1 tbsp custard powder
100g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter (soft)
1 tsp boiling water
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180C
To make the biscuits, put the flour, custard powder and baking powder into a processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and shortening in teaspoonfuls and pulse to create a crumbly mixture.
Add the sugar and pulse again.
Beat the egg and milk together. Pour down the funnel of the processor with the engine running until it clumps together in a ball. Go cautiously as you may not need all the egg and milk mixture or you may need more.
Form the dough into a ball, press down into a flat disc, wrap in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for 20 mins.
Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 4mm and cut out your biscuits using a cutter.
If you feel in the mood, you can prick the outside of each heart all the way round (Nigella suggests using a corn on the cob holder, I used a fork – do you need to complete this step – I’d say No!).
Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 mins. Allow to cool on a rack before sandwiching them together.
To make the custard cream, put the custard powder, icing sugar and butter into a processor and blitz together until you get a smooth cream (I used a free standing mixer for this – easier to clean!). Add the boiling water and pulse again.
Sandwich each biscuit together with about 1 tsp of the custard cream. Makes approx. 14 sandwiched hearts (28 individual biscuits altogether)