Rhubarb and custard layered dessert, soft poached rhubarb with creamy sweet custard. This pretty dessert is super simple to make but elegant enough to grace any dinner table.
Our rhubarb and custard layered dessert is one of those dishes that perhaps looks a little more complicated because of the layering, but is in fact really easy to cook and assemble.
Poached rhubarb layered with sweet vanilla custard and toasted almonds. This is an impressive looking dessert that can grace any dinner table. But layer it up in a jam jar and you have the ideal picnic dessert.
Rhubarb and custard is a classic flavour pairing, reminiscent of the boiled sweets I loved as a child and still love today. The sourness of the rhubarb is balanced out with the sweet vanilla custard.
You could add a little stem ginger, orange zest or cardamon to the poached rhubarb. However, not too much as you don’t want to overpower the vanilla.
Rhubarb & Custard Layered Dessert – recipe steps:
Make the poached rhubarb compote:
- Cut and trim the rhubarb and place in a saucepan with the sugar and water.
- Place the pan over a medium heat and gently cook till soft. Set aside to cool.
How to make custard:
- Place the egg yolks, flours and sugar in a bowl and whisk.
- The whisked eggs will become light, pale and fluffy.
- Meanwhile pour the milk and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and slowly heat till just below boiling. Do not boil the milk!
- Spoon a little of the warm milk into the eggs and stir until fully incorporated. Repeat this step again to allow egg mixture to come closer to that of the milk.
- This process will stop the eggs cooking too quickly and avoid them scrambling!
- Now add the egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining milk mixture and gently heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. This will take around 5 minutes.
- Once thickened remove the custard from the heat, pour into a large bowl and cover the custard with clingfilm. Place the clingfilm directly on top of the custard to stop a skin from forming on top.
- Set aside to cool and then keep in the fridge until ready to layer up.
Layer the dessert:
- Using a glass dessert dish, drinking glass, or even a jam jar, start layering up the dessert. Start with a layer of rhubarb compote then spoon over some cold custard.
- Repeat this process until you have filled the glass.
- Finish with a layer of toasted flaked almonds for added crunch.
Recipe substitutions and variations:
- Rhubarb poached simply with some sugar is a wonderful thing. However, you can add other flavours into your poached rhubarb compote. Stem ginger, vanilla, cardamon or orange zest would all work in this compote.
- Vanilla custard is delicious when freshly made, however, if you are pushed for time, replace with a good quality supermarket fresh vanilla custard.
- Birds custard powder is used in this recipe and gives that extra hit if custard flavour and colour. However, if you don’t have custard powder substitute with cornflour instead.
- Whole milk is used to make the custard. For a really rich and creamy custard, you can use double or single cream in the place of the whole milk.
- Flaked almonds are sprinkled over the top and add a lovely crunch to this dessert. You could also use other toasted nuts or seeds if you prefer. Or add a crunchy layer of granola for something a bit different.
- Madeira cake (or similar style of sponge cake) can be cut up into smaller pieces and layered through the dessert.
Can I made this rhubarb & custard layered dessert ahead of time?
This simple rhubarb and custard dessert is an ideal make ahead dish. An ideal dessert if you are planning a dinner party or summer barbecue.
- Fridge: Both the rhubarb compote and the vanilla custard can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to serve.
- If storing the custard ensure that you place some cling film directly on top of the custard. This will stop a thick skin from forming on top of the custard.
- Freezer: we both love to batch cook and the rhubarb compote can cooked, then allowed to cool. Placed in an airtight container it will store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Ready to make this dish or any other recipe where you require poached rhubarb compote.
- We do not recommend freezing custard as fresh custard does have a tendency to split when frozen.
Useful hints and tips:
- Allergy advice, if serving this dessert to anyone with an egg allergy replace our vanilla custard with Birds custard which is egg free.
- What happens if there’s lumps in the custard? Simply remove the pan from the heat and whisk vigorously until you have a smooth consistency.
- Make a double batch of rhubarb as it is easy to freeze. You can use it at a later date in this, or another recipe.
- Serving suggestion, this simple layered dessert is delicious on its own, but you can also serve it with shortbread or crunchy oat biscuit on the side.
- Layer up in a jam jar and pop the lid on and you have the perfect lunch box dessert. Or load a few into a cool bag for the perfect picnic sweet treat.
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Additional recipe suggestions:
Why not try out some of these recipes:
If you love rhubarb as much as we do, then have a read of our 5 Best Rhubarb Recipes post.
For more inspiration have a read of our No Bake Desserts post which contains helpful hints and tips as well as a great selection of our favourite no bake dessert recipes.
Rhubarb & Custard Layered Dessert
Poached Rhubarb Compote
- 400 g rhubarb (young thin stems)
- 75 g caster sugar
- 75 ml water
- 3 egg yolks
- 75 g caster sugar
- 10 g custard powder
- 10 g plain flour
- 250 ml whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60 g toasted sliced almonds
Poached Rhubarb Compote
- Cut and trim the rhubarb stalks and add to a saucepan with the sugar and water.
- Place the pan over medium heat and allow the rhubarb to gently cook until completely soft and broken down.
- Set aside and allow to cool while you make the custard. The compote can be frozen at this stage to use at a later date or in another recipe.
- Place the egg yolks, flours and sugar in a bowl and whisk until light, pale and fluffy.
- Pour the milk and vanilla in a small saucepan and slowly heat to just under boiling. Do not allow the milk to boil!
- Spoon a little of the warm milk into the eggs and fully incorporate, repeat this step again to allow the temperature of the egg mixture to come closer to that of the milk mixture. This process will stop the eggs cooking too quickly and risk scrambling.
- Now add the egg mixture back into the pan with the remainder of the milk and gently heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, usually about 5 minutes. The mixture may go lumpy, do not worry, just remove from the heat and whisk vigorously to remove any lumps.
- Once thickened, remove the custard from heat and place into a bowl. Cover the mixture with clingfilm, directly onto the top of the custard as this will stop a skin forming. Allow to cool completely before using.
- This mixture will keep for 2 days in the refrigerator until needed.
- Using a glass or serving dish, alternate the rhubarb compote and custard in layers with almonds sprinkled throughout. Finish with a layer of sliced almonds on top to decorate.
• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •Share on Facebook
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