Thursday, 23 May 2013

Coconut Custard Creams (Wheat Free)

I admit it: I’m currently suffering from a fixation with recreating biscuit barrel staples. I think I’ve reached the heights (or depths) of baking anorakness. Moving swiftly on!

These ones are very easy, though: just two plain cut out biscuits stuck together with traditionally vanilla buttercream. This time, they’re a little different: I’ve added desiccated coconut for a little interested. The nice thing about the cut-out biscuit recipe I use is that it holds its shape very well, and anything pressed into the top of the biscuit comes out pretty faithfully; so, you could press little patterns, or even words, into the tops of the biscuits like the shop bought ones.

Here’s the biscuit recipe.

For the biscuits:
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) vanilla essence
  • 1 ounce  (30 grammes) cornflour
  • 3 ounces  (85 grammes) white spelt flour
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling:
  • 8 ounces icing sugar
  • 5 ounces butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk, or normal milk if you can’t find coconut milk
  • Some desiccated coconut, for decoration

First, make the biscuits:

  • Sieve together the cornflour, spelt flour and salt into a bowl and set aside for later.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric hand mixer, wooden spoon, or rubber spatula, until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla essence until fully combined. Try not to be too vigorous, as you’re not trying to incorporate much air, just mix the ingredients.
  • Add the sieved flours and mix with a wooden spoon, or just get in there with your hands. If you’re starting with the spoon, make sure you finish it with your hands so that it’s nice and smooth. Don’t use an electric mixer, as this will make the dough tough. 
  • Roll into a ball and flatten into a disc an inch (2½ centimetres) in thickness. Chill in the fridge for about half an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F, Gas Mark 2½). Line one or two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  • Take the dough from the fridge and work a little with your hands to make it malleable. Roll out to an ⅛ inch (3 millimetre) thickness and cut out shapes. You could make them round using a 2 inch (5 centimetre) cutter, or just use a knife to cut squares or rectangles, like I did.
  • Arrange the biscuits 1 inch (2½ centimetres) apart on the trays, and prick with a cocktail stick. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until set and very lightly browned.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays for 5 or so minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Then fill them:
  • Make the buttercream using this method and then, using a piping bad fitted with a ½ inch (1 centimetre) nozzle, pipe one half of the biscuits with the filling and sandwich with the remaining biscuits. 
  • Sprinkle the edges with desiccated coconut, or you could use coloured sprinkles for the cute factor.

As you can see in the pictures, I also made little patterns on the top. Because these biscuits don’t have any raising agent or liquid in them, they don’t spread that much or change shape a lot. This means, they hold onto imprints very easily. Use the tip of a small round piping nozzle to print patterns into the top, or you could use anything that you like to create any pattern you like; push them about half way in for the best-lasting pattern.

Unfortunately, homemade sandwich biscuits don’t stay crispy for as long as the shop-bought ones. Naturally, the moisture from the icing permeates into the biscuits and they go softer over time. They’re not stale, don’t worry, as these will keep for up to a week in an airtight container.

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