For Valentine’s Day?

I love custard, but I’m not very good at making it. Making it from scratch is always a bit nerve-wracking if you have people over, but whenever I’ve tried to make it in advance and reheat it, it’s split. I decided years ago that custard powder was the answer. I know it isn’t comparable to proper homemade custard, but Bird’s is still delicious and is generally what we ate as children.

Therefore, I bought a large tub of custard powder. However, I don’t actually make custard all that frequently, so I’ve attempted to find a way of using it up. Nigella Lawson came to the rescue. About ten years ago, I bought Feast, which is one of my favourite and most-used cookbooks. It provides recipes for different sorts of feasts, including those with a religious connotation (Christmas, Passover) as well as the moments in everyday life that constitute feasts to be celebrated, such as breakfast and ‘Ultimate Feasts’. According to the recipes I’ve made, my favourite sections of this book are the Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame and Kiddie Feasts, so no surprises there, then.

I chose to make Custard Cream Hearts, a recipe from the Valentine’s Day chapter, placed there because Nigella thought no one would bother to make their own custard creams unless she fashioned them as hearts and suggested them as a Valentine’s Day gift. Given that I don’t have a heart-shaped biscuit cutter, I just cut them into squares and then ate most of them myself, rather than presenting them as a romantic gesture. She’s right though; they do taste much better than the packet version. They are basically two shortbread-y biscuits, made with a few tablespoons of custard powder added, sandwiched together with buttercream, also with custard powder added. Excellent with a cup of tea.

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