Having had a frantic past couple of days, I had to re-prioritise a few things in order to squeeze in a spot of last minute Valentine’s Day baking for hubby. On my list of things to do today, Valentine’s Day sat up there with “Advise on price sensitivity of Project X”. For a day which only comes around once a year, I didn’t want to miss out on the festivities, even if I was going to be the sole participant.
Nigella has a lovely recipe for custard cream biscuits in Feast, a recipe which I faithfully follow each year for Valentine’s Day, but also at other times during the year when the craving calls.
I have always had a soft spot for custard cream biscuits and, growing up, there was almost always a packet of these in the cupboard, almost always Arnott’s brand. I don’t think there is anything wrong with shop-bought biscuits, but the satisfaction that comes from making your own at home makes it worth the time and effort.
The recipe itself is easy to follow but requires some time if you wish to decorate the biscuits with a dotted border. However, this quiet, repetitive activity is curiously calming, especially if you have spent the whole morning responding to (seemingly) urgent, frantic phone calls. People have different ways of responding to stress. This is my way, poised with a cake skewer in one hand.
Nigella’s recipe for the biscuit uses a mix of butter and vegetable shortening. At a push, you could use all butter but beware that your biscuits will not be as light and crumbly. I have yet to work out what vegetable shortening is called in German, or where I can find it in the supermarkets, so I use lard (sorry hubby!), mostly because I tend to have it on hand for other baking recipes.
The recipe calls for Bird’s Custard Powder which is a product from the UK, but can be found in specialty stores in most other countries. But if anyone has tried this recipe with an another brand of custard powder, please let me know as I’m sure there are others who are also curious.
So even when time is tight, these Custard Cream Hearts are certainly doable, whether for your sweetheart or for your solitary enjoyment. Happy Valentine’s Day!