Friday, March 27, 2009

Rhubarb and Custard

I'm not sure if I've mentioned how much I love rhubarb.

Well, I'll mention it now. I love rhubarb.

As I was leafing through "COOK with Jamie" by Jamie Oliver, I stopped dead in my tracks (figuratively) at the recipe for Rhubarb with Custard.

After a quick read of the ingredients, I already knew I would love this dessert.

And I did. Love it, that is. I. Loved. It.

Not only was it absolutely fabulous as-is, it was a bonus three-for-one recipe. I ate some of the rhubarb with ice cream (some by itself, even) And then, on one of Jamie's suggestions in the book, I took the surviving custard and turned it into ice cream. All I had to do was throw the custard in my cheap-o ice cream maker with a little crushed up peppermint and voila! Peppermint ice cream!

A lot of bang for the buck, if you ask me.

Here's the recipe. Make it! You'll thank me.

Rhubarb with Custard
From the book COOK WITH JAMIE by Jamie Oliver. Copyright (c) 2007 Jamie Oliver. Used by permission of Hyperion. All rights reserved.

1 3/4 pound rhubarb, washed and cut into 3 inch pieces
4 tablespoons superfine sugar
zest and juice of 2 oranges
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 Proper Custard recipe (see below)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the rhubarb pieces in an ovenproof dish or pan, with the sugar, orange zest and juice and the grated ginger sprinkled over the top. Cover with foil and cook in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the rhubarb has softened. The cooking time will depend on the variety and thickness of your rhubarb, so trust your instincts and keep checking it. Meanwhile, make your custard. Once your rhubarb is cooked, taste it to see whether you think it's a little tart - it may need a bit more sugar.

Serve the rhubarb either in a big serving bowl or in individual bowls, with a generous amount of your delicious homemade custard.

Proper Custard

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 vanilla bean, scored lengthwise and seeds removed
8 large free-range or organic egg yolks

Mix the milk, cream, 4 tablespoons of the superfine sugar, the vanilla bean and seeds together in a saucepan. Bring to the point of boiling, then remove from the heat and leave for a couple of minutes to cool slightly - this will also allow the vanilla flavor to infuse.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until pale. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk mixture, then ladle a little of it on to the egg yolks and whisk immediately. Add the remaining milk a ladleful at a time, whisking in well before adding the next. Pour the egg mixture back into the warm saucepan and cook very gently for a few minutes, stirring all the time using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. After a matter of minutes the yolks should cook just enough to thicken the custard and make it shiny - you should be able to coat the back of a spoon with it.

Once you've reached this point, take it off the heat immediately. If you cook it too fast, for too long or on too high a heat, the mixture will probably scramble. But don't worry; if you start to see flecks or lumps of egg in your custard, pull it off the heat right away and pour it into a cold saucepan to cool it down a little, then strain the custard through a sieve into a clean pitcher. Served hot or cold, it's delicious.

P.S. If you want to warm up cold custard, it's best to place it in a bowl over a pan of boiling water - this way it won't curdle.

Recipe notes:
- I didn't have fresh rhubarb, so I settled for frozen, it was still delish. I let the rhubarb thaw completely and drained off all of the liquid before starting.
- I used my Vanilla Bean Paste by Nielsen-Massey (LOVE that stuff!) since I didn't have any vanilla beans.
- I used regular granulated sugar.
- I refrigerated both parts overnight. I tend to prefer cold custard.

I wanted to mention that there were a lot of fantastic looking recipes in the book. Gotta love Jamie!


Megan said...

My mother would love that - she's English and you know how they love their custard! And rhubarb is just awesome - but it's tough to get here!

Jessica said...

My grandfather loves rhubarb. He eats it on crepes, which I've always found odd. I've developed a sort of fascination with it and I'm really hoping that some shows up at my farmer's market soon. The rhubarb and custard looks fantastic!

Elyse said...

This is a bargain dessert!! I've never actually had rhubarb, but you've certainly convinced me that I need to try it! This dessert looks so fabulous!

Temperance said...

I love ruhbarb, but since it doesn't grow here in texas I am cut off, I am getting to the point that I am planning a special trip north for some.

If I do lay my hands on some this recipe looks like a good place to start my binge.

Snooky doodle said...

Delicious custard, Would you beleive that I ve never tried rhubarb ! It s not popular here. I m curious totaste it now :)

Jin Hooi said...

I love rhubard too !!! hmm.. rhubard and custard.. yum yum !!

Dragon said...

I want two bowls of this right now! Yum!

Olga said...

is it rhubarb season already?
love the photos and Jaime Oliver too (of course!).