Rhubarb and Custard is almost a British institution. Done well, it's sensational. Rhubarb is apparently extremely good for you too - filled with calcium, vitamin K and all sorts of antioxidants. I can't really promise that about the custard but I can promise it's blissful to eat. I livened up the crumble topping by adding barley flour which gives it a lovely texture and taste and a scattering of slivered almonds in the the mix. The topping also freezes well which I find extremely useful in moments of panic about dessert.
The custard is Jamie Oliver's recipe and I swooned as I licked the spoon, then the bowl. Ohh, it's a dream. If you're not a custard fan then go the vanilla ice cream route - but honestly, you don't know what you're missing.
Heat the oven to 350F
For the crumble:
4 - 6 sticks rhubarb, depending on how large they are, washed and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks.
Zest and juice of an orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup barley flour (you can use all purpose if you wish)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar (I used Sucanant)
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/3 cup slivered almond
Place the rhubard, sugar, zest and juice of the orange and cornstarch in a bowl and toss together. Leave while you assemble the topping.
Mix together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, oatmeal and salt. Rub in the chunks of butter with your fingertips until you have the consistency of large breadcrumbs.
Add the slivered almonds and mix in.
Pour the fruit mixture into an ovenproof dish, I used an 11inch pyrex pie dish, top with the crumble topping. Place the dish on a baking tray (important - you don't want juice dripping on the bottom of your oven and burning) and place in the oven for approx 45 minutes to an hour.
The crumble is ready when the fruit is bubbling around the edges and the topping is golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes or so.
Serve drenched in the most delicious custard ever.
Vanilla Flecked Custard, Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver's book "Cook with Jamie"
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
Pour the milk, cream, vanilla and sugar into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Whisk the egg yolks and the 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of a mixer and whisk until the mixture is pale.
Pour a tablespoon of the milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk. Add the remaining milk mixture, a little at a time, whisking on low all the time.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, making sure it is on a low heat. Stir all the time with a wooden spoon.
Very soon the mixture should thicken enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat, continue stirring for a minute or two, pour it into a serving pitcher and serve hot or cold.