Custard Heart Cream Biscuits

Custard Cream Heart Biscuits
I have always loved cream biscuits, be it any flavored cream. When I was a child, my parents used to give me and my brother bourbon biscuits only as a treat, like when we scored high in the exams or did something good. The bourbon biscuits were therefore a prized possession for me. I loved(I still do) them to the extent that once when I accidentally dropped them on a wet floor and they turned soggy, I kept them in the sunlight for two days hoping that they would retain their original glory and taste(I had just learnt in my science class that moisture gets evaporated in sunlight). To my utter disappointment, they did not and I started to hear voices from my heart telling me that it would be a crime to throw them away, and pop...they went in my mouth.

After all these years, I still drool over cream biscuits and used to buy them often...until I made these Custard Cream Heart Biscuits. I mean not there is anything wrong with the ones available in the stores, just that after I tasted these, I realized that the store bought ones do not have the taste but only the essence of a particular flavor(not that I didn't know it earlier, but what option did I have?). The texture of these custard cream heart biscuits is between soft and crunchy but not chewy. They are sandwiched with a smooth custard buttercream and taste absolutely yummy.

Adapated from Nigella's Feast but made changes to the recipe.

Makes approximately 20 Cream Biscuits.

For the Biscuits
175 gm all purpose flour
100 gm unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons custard powder
4 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 medium egg at room temperature
1 tablespoon or more milk to bind
Note: Nigella's recipe mentions 50 gm butter and 50 gm vegetable shortening. However, since shortening can be difficult to find, I've replaced it with butter.

For the Custard Cream
40 gm soft unsalted butter
80 gm icing sugar
2+1/4 teaspoon custard powder
1 teaspoon boiling water

For the Biscuits
Put the flour, custard powder and baking powder in the food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter that has been cut into small cubes and pulse to create a crumbly mixture. If you do not have a processor, you can use a mixer grinder jar but use the pulse setting. Else, use a hand held mixer.

Tip in the sugar and pulse again. Remove the flour mixture in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg and the milk. Add the milk mixture a little at a time to the flour mixture and mix by hand or a spatula. Add only as much milk mixture as required to form a soft dough. If the dough is stiff after adding the entire milk mixture, add a little more milk to achieve the right consistency.

Cover the bowl with a cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 4 mm. Dip a heart shaped cutter in flour and cut out shapes(if the dough becomes too soft, place it in the refrigerator again for a couple of minutes). Place the shapes on the baking sheet.
Note: Since the climate here is hot and humid most of the year, I used to have a lot of trouble with rolled out cookies. So what I do now is, I first cut two parchment papers the size of my baking sheet and roll the dough between these two parchment sheets. Once the shapes are cut, I lift the uncut dough instead of the cut out cookies and refrigerate the cut outs along with the baking sheets for around ten minutes and then bake it. This achieves two purposes, first handling the cookies becomes a breeze and when baked in the oven, the hearts spread upwards rather than side wards and therefore do not lose their shape.

 Dip a wooden skewer in flour and prick the outside edge of each heart all the way around on only one side.

Bake for about 10-15 mins or until the edges are lightly browned. Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack for 5 mins. Remove the biscuits from the baking sheet and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Custard Cream
Put the custard powder and icing sugar into the processor and pulse briefly to combine and delump. Add the butter and mix together until you get a smooth cream. Add the boiling water and pulse again. The cream should have a spreading consistency. Add more icing sugar or water if required to achieve this consistency. Spread the icing on one heart and sandwich it with another. Repeat for all the hearts.

Happy Baking!!!

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