Passionfruit & strawberry custard slices (gluten-free)

Custard slices are one of my favourite teatime sweet treats, even though I don’t have a very sweet tooth! I love the crispness of the pastry, the richness of the crème pâtissière and the stickyness of the fondant topping.

I have never made these before so I couldn’t resist having a go. As with many of my sweet bakes, I wanted fruity flavours to off-set the sweetness and add definition to the slices so that they were not just sickly sweet affairs! I have since made these into miniature form: a one-bite-and-they’re-gone morsel, which slipped down all too easily!

I went for a gluten-free version: you wouldn’t know it was gluten-free from the taste, which is how it should be! However, these slices can be made using all-butter puff pastry and standard plain flour for the crème pâtissière.

The pastry:

I made a batch of gluten-free rough-puff pastry, as used for my gluten-free sausage rolls but this time I used 200g butter to the 200g gluten-free flour, gave 6 turns in total and rested the dough for about 30 minutes after each turn to firm up the butter; the result being a very light, flaky pastry. Although I bake it between two baking sheets to restrict its height, you still get the most wonderfully light, crisp pastry that takes on a wafer-like texture: which I think is what shou;dl be the case in a custard slice.

The crème pâtissière:

I made up a crème pâtissière but using about half the sugar I would normally use as it was be sweetened and flavoured further with fresh passionfruit curd and strawberry jam. You can of course use a vanilla crème pâtissière or go for just one fruit flavour.

For fun, I started to pipe alternate dots of each flavour crème pâtissière onto the baked pastry rectangles with some of the slices, but there are times when life is just too short, so I finished off by spooning and smoothing a separate flavour for each layer!

Passionfruit & strawberry custard slices – makes 8

  • about 400g gluten-free rough puff pastry (or all-butter puff pastry)

Crème pâtissière :

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 20g vanilla caster sugar or plain caster sugar
  • 160ml full cream milk
  • 20g gluten-free flour
  • 2 tablespoons passionfruit curd
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam, seived if not smooth

Fondant icing:

  • 150g fondant icing powder
  • cold water
  • a little strawberry jam

(1) Make the pastry layers: roll out the puff pastry thinly to a large rectangle and place on a large baking sheet (or two smaller baking sheets) lined with a double layer of greaseproof paper. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and place another baking sheet on top. Bake for about 15 minutes, remove the top baking sheet and continue to bake until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When cool, trim the edges. NB: you can simply bake the rolled out pastry without placing a baking sheet on top, but the pastry tends to dominate the slices here.

(2) Make the crème pâtissière : in a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and thick. Stir in the flour. Bring the milk to the boil in a small pan and pour it over the egg mixture. Whisk to incorporate and return the mixture to the pan, stirring over a medium heat until it comes to the boil. Continue to cook. stirring all the time for a couple of minutes until it has thickened. Cover with cling film and allow it to cool. NB: the crème pâtissière will be a little thicker than normal.

(3) Split the crème pâtissière into two portions. Add the passionfruit curd to one portion and mix well. Add the strawberry jam to the other portion and mix in well. Cover with clingfilm and leave to cool.

(3) Cut the trimmed pastry into 24 identical rectangles and divide into three portions. Spoon or pipe one of the crème pâtissière flavours onto one third of the pastry rectangles and the other flavour on another third. The remaining pastry is to be topped with the fondant icing, as below, which can then be feathered, drizzled with melted dark chocolate or left plain.

(4) Assemble the three layers, gently pushing down to fix the layers in place. Refrigerate until serving.

Fondant icing and feathering:

For the fondant icing, mix the fondant icing powder with enough water to give a fairly thick icing and dip the remaining pastry flat onto the icing. It will smooth by itself, but if any of the icing drips over the edge, wipe it away.

If going for feathered icing, mix about a tablespoon of the icing and add a little strawberry jam. Pop the the smaller amount of icing into a small disposable piping bag and snip off the end to give a small hole. Pipe parallel lines of the strawberry icing across each of the fondant-iced tops. Run the tip of a knife or a cocktail stick along the length of the top and then go the opposite way to form the feathered effect. Leave to set.


Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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