There are two ways to make this thing of loveliness. The easy way or… the hard(er) way… [dramatic music]
It combines two of my favourite things – sweet pastry and essentially panna cotta. If I’m honest, I’d stop right there. But a lovely friend gave me a shed load of rhubarb, so here we are.
The easy way is reasonably quick to assemble, uses top quality ingredients from your local super market and involves a bit of soaking, some gentle stirring and *bites lip* oven poaching…
The hard(er) way involves making things and chilling and the risk of curdling. But hey. Using shortcuts is never a crime.
I used Sniff The Difference ready-made custard from the supermarket, the ‘posh’ one (allegedly) with Madagascan vanilla – the pale looking one, not the bright yellow one. It is in fact quite a nice product so don’t feel guilty about not making your own custard. If you would rather make your own I will put a recipe and method at the end of this blog*.
I also used a ready-made sweet pastry case. Mainly because I was away from home and didn’t have my own familiar tins available. But also because I may have mentioned that I’m quite lazy and when there is a viable alternative I will use it. If you would rather make your own, then again, I will put a recipe and method at the end of this blog*.
1 sweet pastry case from the supermarket
300ml of good quality ready made custard
1 sheet of gelatine
4 sticks of rhubarb
100ml cranberry juice
2 tsp cornflour
Put the pastry case on a baking sheet and pop it in a 180ºc oven for about 10 mins to perk it up a bit.
While the pastry case revives put the sheet of gelatine in a bowl of cold water and leave to soften for 10 mins.
Remove the pastry case and put on a rack to cool.
Heat 3 tbs of custard in a jug in the microwave until beginning to boil. Remove the gelatine from the water and squeeze out any excess then drop into the hot custard and stir until dissolved. Whisk in the rest of the custard. Put aside but stir briskly occasionally as it cools.
Put the fruit into a small roasting tin and scatter lightly with some sugar. You really don’t need to bury it in sugar, I know it’s tart but you can add sugar if you need to afterwards. Pour over the cranberry juice and cover the tin with foil. Roast for 15 mins at 180ºC and check to see if the rhubarb is tender by poking it with the tip of a sharp knife. In truth it will probably be obvious because some pieces will look like they have been blown up and some will still be whole but tender. If you want to place whole pieces on your final offering, now is the time to carefully remove them.
Drain the rest of the rhubarb into a sieve and save the juices.
The custard should be setting up quite nicely now. Spoon it into the pastry case and level the top.
Heat the juices from the roasted rhubarb, slake the cornflour in a little bit of water and whisk in. Once the glaze has thickened and come to a boil, set it aside.
Decorate with poached rhubarb.
Spoon over the glaze then chill for an hour or so.
Serve with a little pouring cream, if liked.
*When I get round to it.