Goodness Me Gluten & Dairy Free Custard Squares

When we asked our community “If you could have only one of your favourite recipes converted to gluten free what would you choose” gluten and dairy free Custard Squares was the most requested recipe by a long way.

We have enjoyed the challenge of creating this recipe for all of you who have been craving gluten free Custard Squares. We think you’ll love it!

Free From: Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Wheat, Soy, Sesame, Potato Flour/Starch & Nuts

This recipe may seem a little long but it is because there are three steps to making custard squares – pastry, custard and icing.

Firstly a few tips to help with the recipe:
• This recipe was created using Goodness Me Baking Blend*. We can’t guarantee it will work with other brands/blends.
• It’s best to prepare pastry early in the day while it is cooler. As the recipe uses quite soft “fats”, the pastry will quickly warm up when you handle it with the heat from your hands, making it hard to manage. This is why pastry recipes will commonly advise refrigeration of pastry for 30 minutes after making so the “fats” can harden.
• If you choose to use coconut cream as your “fats”, choose a brand that has a high “cream” content. To separate the solids from the liquids, chill the can of coconut cream upright in the freezer for at least half an hour before starting. Open the can and weigh out the solids required, returning the liquid portion to the can for later use in the custard.
• Avoid adding too much liquid to the dough. This not only makes the pastry tough, but will make the it too sticky, hard to handle and roll out, causing all sorts of issues when getting the pastry ready for baking.
• You can make the custard square in a baking tin (approx. 20cm x 30cm or 8″ x 12″) or free form on baking sheets.

Pastry Ingredients:
2 cups (300g) Baking Blend*
150g (5.5oz) “fat” solids of your choice (we tested coconut cream and Olivani dairy free spread, both worked well)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (or 2 teaspoons guar gum)
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or cider or white vinegar)
1 – 2 Tablespoons water (or coconut liquid, if using coconut cream)

Custard Filling Ingredients:
½ cup (60g) gluten free custard powder
2 Tablespoons sugar or honey
1 L (2pt) dairy free milk substitute (include the remainder of the can of coconut cream if used in making pastry)
1 – 2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Icing Ingredients:
2½ cups (375g) gluten free icing sugar
3 Tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Coconut (shredded, optional)

Pastry Method:
1. Place the Baking Blend into a large mixing bowl. Add gum and salt mixing to distribute evenly through the flour.
2. Rub the fat solids through the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add the liquids gradually to the mix, starting with the juice until you can make a crumbly dough. “Scrunching’ it in your hand will help it come together.
4. Tip out onto a clean, dry work surface and continue to gather the dough pieces together until they form a smooth ball.
5. Wrap with cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes minimum (It can keep for several days in the fridge before use).
6. When ready to prepare for baking, turn oven on to 200°C (400°F) fan bake.
7. Remove pastry from the fridge and halve the dough. Working with half the dough on a lightly floured board, gently roll out with a floured rolling pin.
8. Roll and “quarter turn” the pastry repeatedly until rolled out to size and approx. 3mm (0.1″) thick. The dough should make two sheets of approx. 20cm x 30cm (8″ x 12″). Trim edges straight and to size with a pastry cutter or knife.
9. Roll out the second ball of pastry as above, measure and cut to shape then place both pastry rectangles separately on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
10. Prick both rectangles of pastry all over with a fork – this prevents too much irregular puffing of the pastry during cooking.
11. Bake at 200°C (400°F) for 12 – 15 minutes in the oven.
12. Allow to cool completely before assembling with the custard.

Custard Method:
1. In a small bowl, make a thick paste with the custard powder, sugar and a little liquid. Add vanilla.
2. Add this to the rest of the milk substitute in a saucepan placed on a medium heat. Bring to the boil stirring constantly to make a thick custard.
3. Remove from the heat, cover with cling film (directly touching the custard so it won’t skin) and allow to cool completely before use.

How to assemble the Custard Square:
1. Lay out on the work surface a layer of cling film at least 10cm (4″) larger on all sides than the pastry square. Place one piece of pastry in the centre.
2. Tip out the custard onto the pastry base and spread out evenly with a spatula or the back of a serving spoon.
3. Place second sheet of pastry on the top then bring the cling film up and over the top of the custard square, wrapping tightly to get a nice edge while the custard ‘re-sets’. (The assembly can be done in a tin of the correct size to fit the pastry, the cling film will help you get it out of the tin later!).
4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set, then top with icing.

Icing Method:
1. Make a water icing by beating the icing sugar, water and vanilla together in a bowl until smooth. The texture should be firm but spreadable, adjust by adding more ingredients until correct.
2. Unwrap the cling film from the Custard Square and gently ice the top of the pastry, spreading with a hot spatula or knife.
3. Sprinkle the finished icing with shredded coconut if desired.
4. Place in the refrigerator again to firm up.
5. Slice once chilled. Keep in the refrigerator if not eaten straight away (best if eaten within a few days).

Use lemon to flavour your custard and icing.
If you don’t need dairy free you can use 150g (5.5oz) of butter for your “fats”

*Baking Blend recipe p.8 of the Goodness Me it’s Gluten Free Cookbook or the Gluten Free Cooking Starter Guide.