Rhubarb and Vanilla Custards with Cardamom-Sugared Brioche

Vanilla-scented custard over wine-flavoured rhubarb makes a good match with caramelised cardamom brioche in this recipe byMartin Blunos
By Martin Blunos
Rhubarb and Vanilla Custards with Cardamom-Sugared Brioche
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes plus 2 hrs freezing time
  • Effort: medium


  • 400 g champagne rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 250 ml full-fat milk
  • 2 small vanilla pods, split
  • 3 large eggs
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 1 pinches salt
  • 200 ml grenadine

For the brioche

  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 4 slices brioche


1. Put all but 3 pieces of the rhubarb and 150g sugar into a saucepan with the red wine and cook over a gentle heat for 15 minutes or so, until thick and pulpy.

2. Place a heaped dessertspoon of the pulp into the bottom of each of 4 ramekins, tap on a board to level and leave to cool. Freeze for 2 hours (freezing the rhubarb will stop it from mixing in to the custards later, as they cook and set).

3. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas ½. Heat the cream, milk and the split vanilla pods together until lukewarm. Remove from the heat.

4. Beat the eggs with the remaining sugar and a pinch of salt.

5. Pour the warm cream mixture onto the beaten eggs and mix well. Pass the mixture through a sieve.

6. Remove the ramekins from the freezer; let them stand for a few minutes, then pour in the vanilla cream mixture.

7. Place the ramekins in a roasting tin and pour in enough water to come three quarters up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the custards are set, but still have a little wobble when lightly shaken.

8. Cut the remaining rhubarb pieces into small dice. Pour the grenadine into a small saucepan and bring to the boil.

9. Add the diced rhubarb and return the mixture to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately and leave to cool.

10. For the brioche, remove the black seeds from the cardamom pods and crush them using a pestle and mortar, until finely ground.

11. Stir in the icing sugar.

12. Cut the brioche slices into four discs and dredge the cardamom flavoured icing sugar evenly over the top. Toast the brioche under a hot grill, until lightly caramelized (this could be done with a blow torch if preferred).

13. Spoon a little of the grenadine rhubarb over the top of the creams and serve with the caramelized brioche.

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