For a sweet treat you can’t go past the iconic custard square and there a dozens of bakeries and cafes in New Zealand who claim their fame on making the best in the country. The poor custard square experienced some bad publicity a few years ago as the most bacteria laden product in bakery cabinets but I am absolutely certain that this did not slow down Kiwi’s insatiable appetite for them.
My son’s travel adventures around New Zealand has made him an expert in bakery goods and specifically the custard square. His recommendation for the best custard square in New Zealand is the Flats Hill Cafe on State Highway 1 Ohingaiti. I visited Flats Hill in late 2011 on a long trip to Auckland and was disappointed that the custard squares had all gone. To my joy on my return trip I managed to score one and it was well worth the wait.
There square was made to perfection, not the typical over stodgy custard that had been refrigerated for too long. The pastry was crisp and not soggy and chewy like many I have eaten and then to top it all off the icing was made with real passionfruit. Icing for the custard square is just as important as the square itself and I am not a big fan of the chocolate icing combination on custard squares.
Before leaving the cafe a busy waitress asked me if I enjoyed the meal? This gave me the break I needed so I told her that I thoroughly enjoyed the custard square and what do they do to make the best custard square in the land? The waitress had a wee chuckle and said shyly that the secret is is equal parts of cream and milk for the custard and the rest was simple.
So armed with this useful tip I now make custard squares this way and on the few occasions I have made them this way they have been amazing.
I have used the recipe from the Edmonds Cook book because it is a reliable source. My tips are using the advice from Flats Hill Cafe and also I like a lot of filling so I double the quantity, but this is entirely up to you.
I use shop bought sheets flaky pastry. Prick two sheets of pastry and place on oven trays and bake at 215 degrees until golden brown. Cool the pastry sheets.
8 tablespoons custard powder
6 tablespoons of icing sugar
2 cups of milk
2 cups of cream
2 eggs beaten
100 grams butter
Vanilla Extract (optional) or even better a vanilla pod.
Mix custard powder, icing sugar to a paste with some of the milk and cream in a pot.Add remaining milk and cream. Also add the butter, eggs and vanilla. Cook mixture until it thickens stirring it constantly and be careful not to catch the bottom of the pot. Let the mixture cool and press a plastic wrap cover on the top of the custard to prevent a skin forming.
Ice one of the sheets before putting it on top of the custard.
Spread cooled custard over the other sheet of pastry.
Layer them up.
Let the square settle for 15 mins before cutting with a serrated knife.
2 cups of icing sugar
1 knob of butter
Passionfruit pulp (optional)
Mix with hot water until you get a nice smooth consistency.