Sophie's Custard Squares

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Custard squares bring back memories of long family car trips and stopping for lunch at small town bakeries where you can guarantee they are always in the cake cabinet. They are best when the icing is delicious and thick.

When I moved down to Otago to study, the hall I was staying at made the yummiest custard squares with extra thick icing, so I associate them with family as well as hilarious times around the Carrington College dining room tables with my friends. My friend Phil and I, who lived on the same floor as me, had a mutual understanding that when the other needed a pick me up that we were to dash to the supermarket and return armed with a double pack of our favourite custardy treat which we then devoured faster than you could say “do you have a knife?”.

After I mastered making my own I found they were a great way to make friends and to win over the hearts (or at least the stomachs) of boys haha.
I would say my success rate with these is even better than the legendary bend and snap!

Custard square time is all the time, there is never a bad moment to dive into one, even if it does result in getting flaky pastry all over the car seat while passing it back over to mum on a hot summers day.

And just when you thought they were all gone, you find some icing stuck to your nose three hours later.

Custard squares, oh how I love you.



Ingredients

3 Sheets of ready to use Edmonds flaky puff pastry
450 ml Meadow Fresh full fat milk
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
130g castor sugar
55g Edmonds Plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (oh think how great would the custard would be if you used an actual vanilla bean!)

Icing:
50g softened butter
2 cups icing sugar
whole milk
1 tsp vanilla essence


Method

  1. Pre heat the oven to 215 degrees Celsius.
  2. Firstly lets deal with the pastry. Cut the pastry sheets to be around 25% larger than the tine you plan to use. I found that when I cut my pastry exactly to size it shrunk a whole heap which is not ideal. You might need to stick two sheets together to get the right length. Place the pastry (still half frozen) on a dampened baking tray lined with baking paper (sprinkle a bit of water on with your fingers). Prick all over the sheets with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, take out of the oven, flip the sheets over, return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, or until both sides are nice and golden. Leave the sheets to cool.
  3. To make the custard:
  4. In a medium sized sauce pan over a medium heat, warm the milk until it just starts to bubble at the edges, do not boil.
  5. In a large bowl, beat together the castor sugar, eggs (both whole and yolk) and vanilla until the mixture is very thick and pale. Sift in the flour and beat until evenly incorporated.
  6. Pour the warm milk into a jug and gradually pour the milk into the egg and sugar mixture whilst continuously beating on low. Beat until everything is evenly mixed.
  7. Return this mixture to the sauce pan.
  8. Heat the custard on a medium to low heat, stirring continuously and making sure the bottom and corners of the pan are well scraped with heat stir. Stir until the custard becomes nice and thick. I found this to be somewhere around four and seven minutes. It should be quite pasty and gloopy when it is ready. When you scrap the bottom of the pan you should be able to see the bottom of the pan for a second before the custard runs back over it. Take the custard off the heat.
  9. Line your slice tin with baking paper.
  10. Place one of the pastry sheets on the bottom. Pour over the custard and spread over evenly. Place the second sheet over the top. If the sheets don’t end up fitting the tin because they are too bit just use a nice big knife to slice them down to size.
  11. Place the tin in the fridge for an hour or so.
  12. Cream together the icing ingredients adding enough milk so that it beats together nicely and makes a smooth and fluffy icing.
  13. Spread the icing over the top sheet of pastry, don’t worry about it being super smooth and flat, imperfect is the new perfect!
  14. Return to the fridge for another 20 minutes to set the icing a little more.
  15. Carefully transfer the custard slab onto a chopping board. Using the largest cooks knife you have, slice the slab into squares. Serve with a smile and prepare to receive many pats on the back and high fives!
  16. This is best enjoyed with friends!


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