The custard square is a Kiwi classic! I grew up with the canary yellow, almost rubber-like custard squares that were standard fare in all bakeries and school canteens in the 80s. Thankfully our tastes have progressed, and while the custard square remains a firm favourite, the custard need not be too firm. Instead imagine a light creamy vanilla custard sandwiched between flaky pastry.
2 sheets store-bought puff pastry, thawed
3 cups full fat milk
50g butter, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup cornflour
5 egg yolks (size 7)
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the pastry sheets on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Use a fork to prick holes all over the pastry then top the pastry sheets with non-stick baking paper and an additional baking tray. This acts as a weight and stops the pastry from puffing up. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely on wire racks before trimming to fit a 22cm square cake tin.
Place 2 cups of the milk, butter, vanilla and sugar in a pot and heat until just before boiling point. Meanwhile whisk the cornflour, remaining milk and egg yolks together until smooth. Carefully mix in the hot milk and return to the heat, whisking continually. Cook until you have a thick, glossy custard.
Line a 22cm square cake tin with baking paper. I cross two sheets over the base allowing enough to hang over each side; this makes it easy to lift the slice out. Place your first pastry sheet on the base, pour over the custard and top with the remaining pastry sheet. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or until set, before icing.
To make the icing mix the icing sugar and vanilla together with a little hot water. Start with a tablespoon or two first, adding a little more at a time until you have the right consistency.