Rhubarb and custard

Graham Hornigold gives the classic comfort dessert of rhubarb and custard a dazzling update in this stunning recipe. Not for the faint hearted, there are various components to manage and some tricky steps to manoeuvre through, but the finished result will be worth the effort. When dipping the anglaise balls, make sure they are completely frozen and that the cocoa butter mix is very hot - this will help to get the thinnest coating that you can.

First published in 2015
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Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Rhubarb purée

Poached rhubarb

Vanilla anglaise

  • 250ml of milk
  • 250ml of cream
  • 200g of egg yolks
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 2 vanilla pods

Cocoa butter coating

Vanilla pastry cream

  • 250ml of milk
  • 90ml of whipping cream
  • 50g of sugar
  • 25g of custard powder
  • 50g of egg yolk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 200g of whipping cream

Crumble

  • 50g of butter
  • 50g of Demerara sugar
  • 75g of flour, sifted
  • 25g of Oats (1)

Equipment

  • Food processor or blender
  • Sous vide equipment
  • 70mm demi-sphere moulds 20
  • Piping bag and nozzle

Method

1
Begin by preparing the rhubarb purée. Wash and cut the rhubarb into small pieces, then place into a saucepan and mix with the sugar. Cover the top of the pan with clingfilm, place over a medium heat and allow the rhubarb to slowly break down - this should take around 20 minutes
2
Continue to cook the rhubarb until it looks stewed in texture, then remove from the heat and put into a colander or strainer lined with a double layer of muslin cloth. Hang the rhubarb over a bowl and allow the juice to separate from the flesh in the fridge overnight
3
Set aside the strained rhubarb juice to use as poaching liquid and blitz any remaining pulp in a blender to form a smooth purée. Pass the purée through a fine sieve and refrigerate until required
4
For the poached rhubarb wash and cut the remaining rhubarb into 20cm sticks and place into a vac pac bag along with 150g of rhubarb juice. Vacuum seal tightly and poach in a water bath at 65˚C for 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the rhubarb. Once cooked, plunge the bags of rhubarb into an ice bath and allow them to cool completely before using
5
Next prepare the vanilla anglaise. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan, then bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Whisk together the sugar and yolks and pour them slowly over the hot cream mixture, whisking continuously until well combined
  • 250ml of milk
  • 250ml of cream
  • 200g of egg yolks
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 2 vanilla pods
6
Return the pan to a low-medium heat and bring to 82˚C while constantly stirring. Pass the mixture through a fine chinois and allow to cool. Place in the fridge to chill, then pour the anglaise into the 20 demi-sphere moulds
7
Freeze the anglaise until solid, then remove from the moulds and press the 2 halves together to form 10 spheres. Push a plastic cocktail stick into the top of each sphere and return to the freezer until required
8
To coat the spheres, gently melt the cocoa butter in a pan. Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a microwave. Combine the melted white chocolate and cocoa butter together in the pan, then pass through a fine chinois and set aside
9
Dip the frozen anglaise spheres into the cocoa butter mix and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to ensure the outer layers set and the anglaise in the centre melts
10
To make the pastry cream, combine the vanilla, milk and 90ml of whipping cream in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 20 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, yolks and custard powder together until pale. Reheat the infused cream, then strain over the yolk and sugar mixture
  • 250ml of milk
  • 90ml of whipping cream
  • 50g of sugar
  • 25g of custard powder
  • 50g of egg yolk
  • 250ml of milk
  • 2 vanilla pods
11
Return the combined cream and egg mixture to the pan and place over a gentle heat. Cook out until the floury flavour has gone and the pastry cream mixture thickens and looks like a heavy custard, stirring with a whisk for a smooth texture
12
Once the pastry cream has cooked remove it from the heat and transfer to a suitable container. Place a sheet of cling film in direct contact with the cream to avoid a skin from forming and leave to cool
13
Once the pastry cream has cooled, weigh out 100g and place into a bowl. Beat to loosen the texture and then gradually pour in 200g of whipping cream, whisking until thick to form a diplomat crème. Transfer to a piping bag and refrigerate until required
  • 200g of whipping cream
14
Preheat the oven to 180˚C
15
To make the crumble, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and soft. Add the flour and oats and mix together to form a soft dough. Roll the crumble mix out across a tray to roughly 1/2cm thickness, then bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove, allow to cool and pulse in a blender to form a crumble
  • 50g of butter
  • 50g of Demerara sugar
  • 75g of flour, sifted
  • 25g of Oats (1)
16
To serve, cut the poached rhubarb into random sized batons and arrange across the plate. Add a few small piles of the crumble and use a larger one in the central of the plate as a base for the anglaise spheres, securing with small pipings of diplomat crème. Finish with some small squirts of the purée and crème, scattering over the freeze dried raspberries and edible flowers
First published in 2015
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Graham Hornigold’s expert pastry skills have been refined in some of the best restaurants and hotels in London, effortlessly adding delicate, refreshing touches to dessert menus. Previously group pastry chef at Hakkasan Group, he now travels the world with his pastry consultancy business Smart Patisserie (as well as producing the best doughnuts you've ever tasted under the Longboys brand).

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