Custard Biscuits with Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

With the spring properly here now we are enjoying the fresh flavours that come with the warmer weather.  Our garden is coming along with the busy bees arriving to enjoy the blooms.  Our gooseberry and black currant bushes are a hive of activity which is wonderful.  The garden makes a happy place for the bees and butterflies.  Need to work on plants to invite along the hummingbirds.

One of my favourite flavours growing up was strawberry and rhubarb.  My mum would make a divine strawberry and rhubarb pie that I loved.  I wanted to bake something that would include that delicious combination.  I was flipping through the “Sweet” book by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh and found a recipe for Custard Yo-Yos that had a rhubarb icing.  I thought I would do a strawberry and rhubarb jam instead for the filling.

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Make the jam first to give it time to cool.  Use a ratio of 1:1 for the strawberry and rhubarb.

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In a small saucepan add the fruit and a bit of water so the fruit doesn’t catch as you bring it to a simmer.  Add brown sugar a bit at a time until you get the flavour and thickness desired.  You do want this on the thick side so it doesn’t drip too much out of the biscuit sandwich.

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C

In a mixer bowl sift together 175g/1 1/3 cups of all purpose flour, 65g/1/2 cup custard powder, 65g/1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.  If you don’t have custard powder ( 😦 )  you can use cornstarch (cornflour) but it won’t be much of a custard biscuit without the custard!  I like using Bird’s custard powder.  One because it’s good and two it’s what we can easily find.  Cube 170g/3/4 cup of unsalted butter that is at room temperature.  Add it to the mixer bowl.

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Blend on low until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Next add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  If you had to use corn starch then make it 1/2 a teaspoon.  At this point you will probably be wondering, as I was, how on earth was this dry mixture going to come together.  Have no fear!  The butter starts it’s job with the vanilla.  Start on low then speed up to medium to bring the dough together.  It will take 30-60 seconds to happen.

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Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll balls of dough of about an 1 inch/2.5-3cm.  Place the balls about 1 1/2in/4cm apart.

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Dust a fork with flour and press into the tops of the balls.  Don’t go all the way through!  Just go about halfway.

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Bake for 25 minutes.  If you use more than one baking sheet, rotate them halfway through.  You want the biscuits dry on the bottom and slightly golden.  Leave them on the sheet for a couple of minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack.

When the biscuits and jam are cool make sandwiches.

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There is nothing like custard with strawberry and rhubarb.  Definitely flavours of the beautiful warmer weather.

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Pavlova with Cardamom

The other night I made Coq au Vin and to finish the meal I decided to try my hand at pavlova.  My husband has made it a few times over the years and it is a really delicious dessert.  It is a simple recipe that just takes a bit of time.  I also had pinned this pavlova from Bangers & Mash awhile ago so I thought I would try out my new spice grinder and take her inspiration of cardamom and add it to my recipe which is from Joy of Baking.  🙂

To start I prepped the baking sheet by placing parchment paper on it and drawing a circle around the plate.  This is your guide when spreading the mixture out.  Then turn the parchment paper over so the food doesn’t touch the ink or pencil.  Pre-heat the oven to 250F/130C

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I guestimated what a teaspoon of ground cardamom would be as I was starting with whole pods.  I ground them up very fine for this dish.

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The recipe called for 4 egg whites so the dogs were really happy to get the yolks!  🙂

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With the mixer I whipped the whites until they formed soft peaks.

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Then I gradually add a tablespoon at a time of castor sugar until 1 cup has been incorporated.  You want to do your best to get the sugar fully dissolved.  Mine was almost there but the dish came out really well so it was ok for me.  Once the sugar was incorporated I added 1/2 tsp of vanilla and the cardamom.

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Then I had to gently fold in 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch (corn flour) and a teaspoon of white vinegar.  Hopefully when you do this your dog doesn’t decide to go berserk and start barking as you are trying to sprinkle the vinegar over the mixture.  Instead my vinegar went flying.  So after cleaning that up I tried again!  Geez.

Spread out the meringue onto the parchment paper so the thickness is somewhat uniform.

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This needs to be baked about 60-75 minutes.  The outside needs to be dry and set.  Once it is baked turn off the oven leaving the meringue in the oven with the door ajar.  Let it cool completely before moving it.  Pavlova 7 2013

For the first layer I used Bird’s custard again.  🙂  I could just eat a whole bowl of that!

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Then a layer of freshly whipped cream is spread over the custard then topped with fresh berries.

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It is such a decadent dessert and disappears fast.

Boston Cream Cupcakes

I was doing a craft night with some members of our PTA for teacher appreciation week and I wanted to make a treat to get us through the crafts and I came upon this recipe for Boston Cream Cupcakes.  It looked fabulous and as my favourite donut is Boston Cream I thought it would be perfect.

I didn’t have time to do a proper pastry cream so I used Bird’s Custard.  It is one of my major guilty pleasures.  🙂

I made the cupcakes the day before in the interest of time, what with organizing the kids, work, and everything else!  To begin pre-heat the oven to 350F/176C.  In a small bowl measure out 8 3/4oz (very specific!) of flour and 7 oz of sugar.

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Place in the mixer bowl and add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt.  Mix it well.  Next take 12 tablespoons of butter and slice it up.  Add a piece at a time to the flour while mixing until well blended.

 

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Add 3 eggs and blend well.  Lastly add 3/4 cup milk ( I used 2%) and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.  Again blend well.

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Spoon into the cupcake cups.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean.

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Once they are cooled or it’s the next day it is time to add the custard.  I did the custard on the thick side for this.  To make the well cut out a cone then cut off the top half of the cone so you have plenty of space for the custard.  Fill the wells.

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Place the tops back on and prepare the chocolate glaze.  This was very easy to make.  All you need is a bowl or pyrex measuring pitcher and a microwave.  Take 80z of chocolate of your choice, 2/3 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.  Heat until melted and the consistency you would like.  I found doing a couple of coats worked well.  Just drizzle over.  It’s a bit messy!

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These were delicious!  Sticky and messy but lovely.  🙂