I’m not much of a biscuit maker – cakes are more my thing – and every time I’ve tried to make cookies and the like they’ve always been a disappointment. Determined to conquer my biscuit demons (if only all demons could be tackled with the application of a hot cup of tea), I decided to have a go at making the custard cream hearts from Nigella’s Feast.
Custard is one of my favourite things in the world, which would explain why I was immediately drawn to this particular recipe – custard powder features both in the biscuit mixture and in the cream filling. The method for the biscuits is very much like that for making pastry and, as with pastry, would have been much easier if I had a large food processor (and the space to store it). As it is, I rubbed the butter into the flour and custard powder by hand; I should also have rubbed in some vegetable shortening at this point, but found it impossible to get hold of any at the weekend – has it fallen out of favour in Islington, perhaps? Anyway, I just replaced it with an equal quantity of butter, and that seemed to work pretty well.
I’d decided to double Nigella’s recipe, which meant an hour of shifting baking sheets around the kitchen as I dealt with three batches of heart-shaped biscuits. This was faff enough, and left me with very little patience for stabbing around the border of each biscuit with a toothpick as Nigella does – they were still very pretty without all that messing around. Actually, she says you should use a ‘corn-on-the-cob’ holder, whatever that may be. It’s not something that lives in my kitchen.
The custard cream filling was one thing I could do in my little food processor, whizzing up custard powder, icing sugar, butter, and a little boiling water (I misread ‘teaspoon’ for ‘tablespoon’ in my haste, but it didn’t seem to matter in the end). Then you just need to pair up the biscuits, sandwich them together, cart them into the office, sit back and wait for the adoration. Good stuff.