Last Wednesday night was filled with joy for me because it heralded the return of The Great British Bake Off. I love Bake Off. I love its huge tent that I imagine must be filled with tantalising aromas of delicious bakes cooking all day long. I love its two hilarious presenters. I love its good cop/bad cop judging duo that is Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. But most of all I love watching the bakes that the contestants produce and the acknowledgement that sometimes a bake just simply doesn’t go to plan, however much you practice it. I think that, ultimately, it’s a show that reminds us that it doesn’t mean you’re a total failure if you make the odd mistake. But, maybe I’m overthinking it. Maybe it’s just a show about cake.
This week the Bake Off bakers were faced with the challenge of making biscuits so I thought I’d share one of my favourite biscuit recipes with you. It’s a recipe for custard creams that I used to make with my Mum when I was a kid. Shop-bought custard creams never fill me with much joy. They’re too boring (being a stalwart of the biscuit tin when I was a kid) and rarely have the rich buttery, creamy taste that my adult palate has come to expect from a decent biscuit nowadays. However, these homemade custard creams are a different story from pre-packaged biscuits altogether.
This recipe for traditional custard creams contain both gluten and dairy, so if you’re looking for a free-from recipe you’d be better off with my free-from version of custard creams that can be found here. However, if you can digest wheat and butter with ease I guarantee you’ll love these ones!
The inclusion of Bird’s Custard Powder, with its fine-textured vanilla flavoured cornflour base, results in an incredibly crumbly and delicately textured biscuit while the use of real butter adds a sweet richness that could never be imparted through the use of margarine or baking fat. I like to add a little less plain flour than most custard cream recipes ask you to use, substituting the loss with cornflour. This results in melt-in-the-mouth buttery, crumbly biscuits sandwiching a sweet, light buttercream filling. In my opinion, they’re sheer perfect biscuit heaven.
This custard cream recipe is unbelievably quick and easy to make, especially if you chuck all of your ingredients into a food processor, but if you don’t have one it’s really easy to make them by hand. Either way, they’re well worth giving a go.
For the biscuits:
80g plain flour
50g custard powder (I’d recommend using Bird’s)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
150g icing sugar
1 tsp hot water
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.
Line a flat baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Mix all of your ingredients together in a food processor or mixing bowl until it forms a ball.
Take heaped teaspoons of the biscuit mix and roll them into balls before placing them on the baking tray with a good space between each of them. (Don’t worry if you’ve got an unequal number of biscuits at the end, you’ll just need to eat the odd one out. It’s a hardship, I know.)
Flatten them slightly and then use the tines of a fork to make an impression on the top of them.
Bake for 10-15 mins or until they are lightly golden brown.
While they are baking, mix all of your icing ingredients together until blended.
Once the biscuits are cooked, let them cool and then sandwich them together with the buttercream icing.
Try not to eat too many at once.