Custard creams

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • For

    12-14

    biscuits

Appears in

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South: The history of British Baking, savoury and sweet

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South

By Regula Ysewijn

Published 2020

  • About

Custard creams are sandwich biscuits decorated with a baroque pattern and a custard-like filling, a very popular treat in the UK. In 1837, Birmingham pharmacist Alfred Bird developed the recipe for Bird’s egg-free custard powder for his wife because she was allergic to eggs.

The baroque pattern is achieved by pushing a piece of lace or something similar into the dough.

Ingredients

For the biscuits

  • 220 g ( oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g ( oz) rice flour or cornflour (cornstarch)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 35 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 100 g ( oz) chilled butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 tbsp milk

For the filling

  • 100 g ( oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • 1 tbsp custard powder
  • 50 g ( oz) butter
  • 1 tsp warm milk or water
  • pinch of sea salt

Method

Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and milk and mix until the dough sticks together in a ball. Briefly knead the dough by hand until smooth.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes while you make the filling. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Make the filling by mixing the icing sugar, custard powder, butter, milk and salt in the food processor until creamy. If it is too dry, add some more milk, ¼ teaspoon at a time. Cover and set aside.

Roll out the dough on a floured work surface until 3 mm ( inch) thick. Press a lace doily or similar into the dough. Use a 5 cm (2 inch) rectangular cutter to cut out the biscuits.

Place the biscuits on the tray and bake for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Spread a teaspoon of filling on half of the biscuits, then sandwich them with the remaining biscuits, gently twisting to secure.

Serve with strong tea with milk.