Rhubarb and custard recipe


This dessert is a celebration of a quintessential fruit. What excites the tastebuds as much as different flavors are contrasting textures, so in this dessert, we have tart rhubarb jelly studded with tender fruit; sweet, smooth, velvety custard; and a garnish of crisp dried rhubarb.


For the dried rhubarb crisp

  • 1 rhubarb stick
  • 20g/¾oz caster sugar
  • 2 tsp grenadine syrup

To macerate and cook the rhubarb

  • 450g/1lb rhubarb, into 1cm/½in pieces
  • 45g/1½oz caster sugar

For the jelly

  • 2 thin slices of fresh root ginger
  • 1½ gelatine leaves softened in cold water and drained

For the custard

  • 150ml/5fl oz whipping cream
  • 150ml/5fl oz milk
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla purée or good-quality vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 gelatine leaf, softened in cold water, and drained

For the honeycomb

  • 35g/1¼oz clear honey
  • 70g/2½oz glucose
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar


  1. Place 4 glasses or glass serving dishes in the fridge to chill well. Preheat the oven to 100C/80C Fan/Gas ¼.
  2. For the dried rhubarb crisp, using a sharp vegetable peeler, carefully shave the rhubarb lengthways until you have at least 6 pieces, then put these in a small bowl. Chop the remaining rhubarb into 1cm/½in pieces and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring 100ml/3½fl oz water, sugar, and grenadine syrup to a gentle simmer. Add the shaved rhubarb slices, then turn off the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the slices of rhubarb, reserving the syrup, and place them on a baking tray lined with a silicone mat. Place in the oven for 25 minutes to dry out, then store in an airtight container until needed. Increase the oven temperature to 140C/120C Fan/Gas 1.
  5. To macerate the rhubarb, in a large bowl mix the rhubarb (including the reserved chopped rhubarb) and sugar with 100ml/3½fl oz of the reserved rhubarb syrup and leave to macerate for 30 minutes. Transfer to a shallow oven tray and cover tightly with cling to create a seal. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Once cooked, transfer to the fridge to cool in its own syrupy juice before straining this off and reserving it. Finely chop half of the cooked rhubarb (about 180g/6oz), leaving the rest as it is, and set aside in 2 separate bowls.
  6. Measure 200ml/7fl oz of the reserved syrupy juice to make the jelly.
  7. For the jelly, in a small saucepan over low heat, infuse the ginger and softened gelatine in the reserved juice for 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve the gelatine. Strain, reserving 80ml/2¾oz for building the trifle. Pour the remainder into a small bowl, cover, and chill in the fridge.
  8. Start to build your trifle before you make the custard. Place 40g/1½oz of the finely chopped cooked rhubarb in the bottom of each chilled glass. Top with 50g/1¾oz of the larger pieces of cooked rhubarb. Add 4 teaspoons of the reserved jelly liquid into each glass and place in the bottom of your fridge for 15 minutes, until the jelly has just set.