Orange Custard Bars

Orange Custard Bars
Orange Custard Slice

Sophisticated meets doable in this party go-to, a thick layer of creamy custard between two flaky sheets of homemade puff pastry. Dress it up with whipped cream and fresh fruit. 

Orange Custard Bars
Makes 8 to 10 servings
  • Buttery Puff Pastry (recipe below)
  • 3½ cups (840 grams) plus 4 tablespoons (60 grams) heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1½ cups (300 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • ¾ cup (96 grams) cornstarch
  • 3½ cups (840 grams) whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks (112 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon (2 grams) orange zest
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) orange liqueur
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll half of Buttery Puff Pastry into a 16x12-inch rectangle. Place on a large jelly-roll pan. Brush with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cream, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar. Top with parchment paper, and place another large jelly-roll pan on top of pastry.
  3. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes, pressing down on middle of top pan halfway through baking to release air from pastry. Remove from oven, and press down on pan again. Remove top pan and parchment paper; let cool completely on pan. Repeat with remaining Buttery Puff Pastry, 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cream, and 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar.
  4. In a large saucepan, whisk together cornstarch and remaining 1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar. Add milk and remaining 3½ cups (840 grams) cream, whisking until smooth. Bring to a low boil over medium heat.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and zest. Gradually add 2 cups hot milk mixture to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk egg mixture into remaining hot milk mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat; whisk in butter, orange liqueur, and salt. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming.
  6. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan. Using a pastry cutter, cut pastry sheets into 9x13-inch rectangles. Place one pastry sheet in prepared pan. Pour custard over top, and cover with remaining pastry sheet, pressing down gently. Refrigerate until set, 3 to 4 hours.
  7. To serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan. Using a serrated knife, gently cut into squares.

Buttery Puff Pastry
Makes 2 (16x12-inch) sheets
  • 4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 2½ cups (567 grams) cold European-style unsalted butter,* cubed
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) cold water
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat flour and salt at low speed to combine. Add butter, and beat until butter is coated with flour, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add ¾ cup (180 grams) cold water in a slow, steady stream just until dough comes together, about 1 minute (there will still be large pieces of butter). Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 18x11-inch rectangle. Fold dough into thirds, like a letter. Rotate dough 90 degrees, and fold into thirds again. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Divide dough in half, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.
We used Plugrá.


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  1. Made this recipe, followed the directions exactly, and the custard did not set up at all.. cut into the bars after 5+ hours in the fridge to find liquid custard. Avid baker but never made custard so I’m not sure what happened.. puff pastry turned out perfect and was delicious though.

    • Hi Heath,

      Thank you for reaching out! We apologize that your bars did not set up. When making a custard with a thickening agent such as corn starch there are a few things to keep in mind. Egg yolks naturally have a starch digesting enzyme called alpha-amylase. In order for a successful gelling of a starch in the recipe, the enzyme has to be deactivated by cooking the custard almost to boiling (a little less than 212 degrees F). If the custard is not heated appropriately, the left-over enzymes digest all of the nice firm starch gel and your custard is nothing but liquid. (All other custard cooking methods without starch can curdle if cooked beyond 185 degrees.)


An undercooked custard may initially appear thick but will slowly turn to soup as the amylase enzyme attacks the starch and breaks the custard down, usually as it sits under refrigeration. A good guideline is to cook for 1 to 2 minutes after bubbles appear in the custard, stirring constantly.
 Remember however, that you still want heat the mixture slowly in order to prevent curdling of the egg proteins.

    • Hi Lori,

      Thanks for reaching out! Puff pastry dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and frozen for up to 3 months. To use from refrigeration: let sit at room temperature until just pliable, approximately 15 minutes. From frozen: place in refrigerator for at least 5 hours to thaw, then allow the dough to sit at room temperature until just pliable. Do not let the puff pastry warm to room temperature, however, as the butter will melt and the puff pastry will not get its signature layers.

  2. And when assembling the bars, does the sugared side of the puff pastry go up or down in the pan and on top of the custard?

    • Great question! The sugared side will act as a bit of “waterproofing” from the custard, allowing it to stay crisper longer. Place the sugared side against the custard in both scenarios. Happy baking!


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