Monday, August 1, 2011

The Ultimate Custard Square Hunt: Denheath Custard Squares, Timaru

Given my infatuation with custard squares there was no way I could pass through Timaru without paying a visit to Denheath - I do think they're the best custard squares to be found (I've written about them before) and I love that you can order a box of them to be delivered to your door. Mr Cake has done this for me in the past as an extra special treat and it really is quite exciting; they're transported frozen (don't worry, they still taste great!) and arrive in a perfectly dimensioned chiller box:



Denheath also make cheesecake squares and custard e-squares (fascinating square eclairs!), and the custard squares come in a range of yummy flavours (the classic vanilla is my favourite but passionfruit comes a close second, followed by chocolate - well, I'll take any of them, really). So even if, like my brother-in-law, you are not a custard fan (how can you not like custard?) you can still have a nice dessert. Lisa also makes stunning cakes and cupcakes and you can even have a slab of custard square as a birthday cake.


Lisa and Donald, who run Denheath, have been slogging away for many years to share their custard squares with the nation - the secret recipe for the custard squares comes from the original owners of Denheath House in Pleasant Point. Lisa's family bought the house on the strength of the custard square recipe (the recipe came with the property!) and in 2000 Lisa and Donald started selling to cafes (the Ballantynes tea room, which is where I discovered them, was their very first vendor). Now there are hundreds of spots around New Zealand for you to get your fix - but it's still very much a family business, and when we popped in Lisa and Donald were both in the office. Though they were surprised we had braved the weather (by the way, Mr Cake tells me the reason we travelled was not because we are stubborn, which is what I said the other day, but because we are "gung ho." Correction noted, Mr Cake) they were very welcoming and friendly, and happy to share their story with us.


So how do the custard squares rate? Well, I love them - they are very rich and decadent, true custard flavour but minus the gelatinous texture so common among bakery specimens. They are hard to eat - you really do need a fork, or to be willing to get a bit messy - but it's well worth the effort. The icing isn't too sickly and comes with a generous topping of coconut. The pastry is flaky, and will avoid sogginess if they're defrosted properly (though if you pass through Timaru and visit the factory you might be lucky enough to get fresh ones!). The biggest argument against them is that they're a bit tricky to eat out of a paper bag at morning tea time - but that's a convenience I'm willing to sacrifice in exchange for having a deliciously fluffy filling. Though they're pricier than your average custard square I think they're well worth it, and my previous rating of 9/10 definitely still stands.


Have you tried Denheath custard squares? And don't you think all dessert should be available by mail order?



Denheath custard squares are available from various retailers nationwide, and online from www.denheath.co.nz.

11 comments:

georgi hampton said...

yes! a couple of years ago my parents sent me a huge box to my hall and we had a dessert party with them for my birthday. They were lovely although I really needed help with them - i think there were about 30 in the box in total.. x

katernz said...

Ah now, someone told me that the Ka Pai on Courtenay Pl in Welly had these, so I got one specially and was super let down. I sincerely hope it wasn't a Denheath as the custard was crumbly and had an odd citrusy flavour.

Have been meaning to get some from Moore Wilsons to try, but I'm loath to fork out for a box if it turns out it was a Denheath I tried. Have you tried the Ka Pai one? It's not on their list of stockists, but if they could be getting them in from Moore Wilsons too.

Mrs Cake said...

Georgi, what a great birthday present! And it's always even more fun when you can share the goodness around. :-)

Kate, I hope they weren't! I haven't been to Ka Pai on Courtenay Place so can't say but it doesn't sound like Denheath. I see you can get them at Thorndon New World - perhaps that would be a better bet for a trial? :-)

timeforalittlesomething.com said...

I have never heard of these! But they look gorgeous and I love their packaging. I was about to ask where else you can get them in Wellington.... but will try Thorndon New World! Looking forward to it :)

timeforalittlesomething.com said...

I am the only person in my office that hadn't heard of these! Got one today from thorndon NW and loooooved it.

Anonymous said...

OMG those Denheath custard squares are DANGEROUS! When I was pregnant with my now 6 1/2 year old, I ordered a box of the custard squares as my treat for when I had the baby (couldn't eat the custard while I was preggers). Boy oh boy did I enjoy those when I got home from the hospital. The E-squares are delicious too. Megan

Mrs Cake said...

timeforalittlesomething, glad you tracked one down, and glad you loved it! Funny that all your workmates knew about them already - I guess the secret is out!

Megan, what a great treat for you! It is dangerous having a box on hand but I'm sure you earnt every last one. :-)

Mrs Cake said...

Kate, an update: I have it on good authority that the Ka Pai ones are imposters, made by a company called Melba. Hopefully the real thing will be more enjoyable for you!

cathie said...

We started making these at work this week. We make the filling out of a premix called 'kramiss' which sounds odd. But they do taste good.

( Not amazing, they aren't going to be the winners, but for supermarket custard square, they are what you expect; good. )

Rosa said...

Cathie, I think you'll need to provide me with a sample for testing next time I'm in town!

Anonymous said...

Although i know alot of people that LOVE these custard squares, they are not my flavour. I have brought them from 2 different cafes here in Hamilton. Both had very soggy bases (making it near impossible to chew) and way to much custard going on.

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