RHUBARB CRÈME BRÛLÉE
Main crop rhubarb is now available in our local greengrocers, giving a splash of colour to show that spring is here.
This second crop of rhubarb punches a bigger flavour than the forced first crop, although it’s not as pretty.
I love the tartness of this vegetable – yes, its classed as a vegetable – as it not only works well in desserts but also with meat and oily fish. Try it with a grilled mackerel and you’ll see what I mean.
Choose firm plump stalks when buying and keep it in the fridge where it can be kept for a few days. Remember that the leaves contain poisonous oxalic acid and should not be eaten.
Rhubarb brings back memories of classic comforting puddings eaten as a child. Some of us of a certain age will also remember the TV programme Rhubarb and Custard, and you will now have a certain theme tune running through your head. This dessert is a refined rhubarb and custard, but without that theme tune!
4 sticks rhubarb
50g caster sugar
460ml double cream
6 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
1. Wash and cut the rhubarb into 2cm lengths
2. Place on a stainless steel tray and sprinkle over the caster sugar.
3. Roast in a preheated oven, gas 5/190C, for eight minutes until tender and allow to cool.
4. Put the cooked rhubarb into six tall ramekin dishes.
5. Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape the seeds into the cream.
6. Bring the cream to the boil while whisking the egg yolks and sugar together.
7. Whisk the hot cream on to the egg mixture and return to a clean pan.
8. On a gentle heat, bring the custard mixture up to 80C, stirring all the time. It will thicken as the egg cooks.
9. Pour over the rhubarb and allow to cool. Put in the fridge for at least two hours.
10. Sprinkle the top with caster sugar and torch until golden brown. Allow to sit for two minutes before serving.
Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives, Emsworth. Visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377 914.