New Zealand Fruity Custard Shortcake

Second time lucky cos WordPress or my sketchy laptop internet connection lost the first attempt… I’m diverging briefly from language and our adventures to post a yummy cake / dessert recipe…

I posted this pic on my Facebook last week. It’s a cake that was on sale at the Ginger Crunch Café in Helensville, New Zealand, when I lived there.  I ended up working as a cook, waitress and barista at the Ginger Crunch for a quite a while. I loved it. For the people I worked with, for feeling more like a part of my local community, and for spending time cooking and making / drinking coffee!

Fruity Custard Shortcake

Moving to New Zealand was about leaving our London careers and doing what we felt was right. The Ginger Crunch fit in with a few acting jobs, freelance writing and just living. I have only positive memories of those times. I really enjoy cooking, especially baking, and when I left the owner was kind enough to let me copy down my favourite recipes. This was one.

I made this Fruity Custard Shortcake for the first time in a couple of last week, to take to our neighbours who invited us for dinner. It felt like a bit of a risk taking a Kiwi country cake to a French dinner (well, the household is officially Anglo-French, but heavy on the French side), but I did. I think it went down well.

A couple of friends asked on Facebook if I would share the recipe. It’s not a secret and I realised other people might like it too, so here it is:

Shortcake Ingredients
250g soft butter
3/4 cup castor sugar (sucre en poudre in France)
1 egg (med to lg)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 cups standard flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
(You could use ‘self raising’ or other flour that has raising agent in it and omit the additional baking powder)

Either a largish tin of fruit – peaches, apricots are good, pears also nice. Or if you have fresh fruit to poach – go for it!

2 cup of milk quantity of custard (‘instant’ type or made from scratch. But if in France NOT ‘crème Anglais’ as it’s far too liquid)
TIP: Make the custard reaosonably, but not too gloopy thick. It will stiffen in the oven and it’s much nicer if it’s a tad softer than solidified. The edges will solidify enough to hold it all together. It’s a bit of a try-it-and-learn one…

Switch on oven to warm to 140 degrees centigrade.
Grease (and line if not loose bottomed) a 25cm (10 inch) round cake pan. Or two smaller ones.

(I recommend using an electric mixer or food processor as the mix is quite stiff at the end.)

Cream butter and sugar
Add egg & vanilla & beat in
Add flour & baking powder and mix well.

You will have a soft but combined dough (should ball up if using a food processor).

Press 1/3 of the mix into the bottom of the tin, pushing a little up the sides to make a lip, but not a flan case.
Arrange1/2 – 2/3 thickly sliced fruit on the base
Pour over custard (it will go up the sides – it’ll be fine!)
Arrange more fruit on top.
Either grate the rest of the shortcake over (if cool enough) or blob it around in little bits (blobbing is the gourmet chef term for this technique). The fruit & custard should still show through. It might look a bit of a mess but it bakes up to look great, trust me!

Pop in the oven for 40 – 50 mins until lightly browned. Allow to cool. Sprinkle with icing sugar (sucre glace) and serve with whipped cream, thick crème fraîche or good fromage blanc.


More blog posts you might like:

Coffee disaster in Spring Cleaning for Coffee Lovers

Amazing gluten-free Dark Chocolate Cake

The Best Gluten-Free Mince Pies


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