How do you improve on a custard cream? You make them Pac-Man shaped, that’s how! I couldn’t be more thrilled with these little guys, a collision of two cult classics that happened completely by accident – I had a recipe to try minus the proper cutter, and a pack of novelty cutters minus a suitable recipe. So I improvised, and it turns out, the two were perfect for each other. Glamour magazine thought so too over on Instagram!
for the biscuits…
- 175g plain flour
- 3 tbsp Bird’s custard powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50g unsalted butter
- 50g vegetable shortening (I always use Trex)
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk to bind the dough
for the custard cream…
- 1 tbsp Bird’s custard powder
- 100g icing sugar
- 50g soft unsalted butter
- 1 tsp boiling water
you will need – Pac-Man cookie cutters, a small circular icing cutter and a thin paint brush or rounded icing modelling tool – perfect for making googly eyes.
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix together the flour, custard powder and baking powder in a bowl, then add the butter and vegetable shortening in small cubes. Rub the fats into the dry ingredients to create a crumbly mixture, you can easily do this in a processor too, I just like getting my hands dirty. Tip in the sugar and mix this through before beating the egg and the milk together in a separate cup or jug. Add the milky egg gradually to the mix until the dough comes together into a smooth ball, then flatten the dough into a fat disc, wrap it in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for 20mins.
- Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, as thin as you dare really, or around 4mm if you’re feeling particularly precise. The Pac-Man set includes three ghosts and one Pac-Man so I tend to make a batch of twelve, 8 ghosts and 4 Pac-Men, which means cutting out 24 biscuits at this stage, 16 ghosts, 8 Pac-Men. However many you choose to do, remember to cut out an even number as you’ll be sandwiching the biscuits together later. To make the eyes I use a small circular icing cutter (don’t go all the way through the biscuit when pressing out the shape) and then make a small indention with a rounded modelling tool inside the circle for the pupil. You can always use the end of a thin paint brush to do this as well. I make sure half of the ghosts look to the left, half to the right, depending on which way Pac-Man is chasing them. Yep, I really do think about it that much! Place the biscuits onto the parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 15mins.
- Once the biscuits have completely cooled you’re ready to sandwich them together. To make the custard cream, mix together the icing sugar and custard powder and then carefully beat in the softened butter until you have a smooth cream. If the cream is too thick to spread, add a couple of drops of boiling water until you’re happy with the consistency. Sandwich the biscuits together using about a teaspoon of the cream for each. I find it easier to spread the cream onto one half using a palette knife or the back of a spoon, and then gently jiggle the top into place. You don’t want to press down too hard as these biscuits are pretty delicate without their other halves. Level complete.
These cutters will bring you guaranteed smiles, and this particular dough, because it’s for a short, crumbly biscuit, is great at keeping the shapes of the characters during baking. A perfect baking partnership is born.