Alfred Bird was a Victorian chemist whose wife Elizabeth, poor soul, was allergic to eggs. Unable to imagine living without a jugful of the yellow stuff, he invented an egg-free custard formula for his beloved. Elizabeth went on to enjoy a custard-rich life and old Alfred did very well out of his invention. Bird’s Custard might not be the Taj Mahal or even a book of sonnets but it is still a rather cute testament to love.

Custard powder is mostly made of cornstarch and flavouring, plus a bit of colour for that yellow tint. It’s handy when you want your baked goods to be a little lighter (that’ll be the starch) — and to taste like custard powder, which tastes like nothing else, including real custard.

These buns are an act of pure love: they exist only as a treat. But what a treat — custard-flavoured clouds with sharp, exotic passion-fruit pulp laced through. Whipped or soured cream is optional, a hot beverage mandatory. They are perfect for someone you love, even if that person is only you.

Alas, Mrs Bird would not have been able to enjoy these buns — not only because they contain eggs, but because they have yeast in them as well, which she was also allergic to. For that, her husband invented baking powder — but that’s for another recipe, next Valentine’s Day.

For the buns

For the passion fruit glaze

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