Rhubarb queen of puddings

Henry Herbert adds an interesting twist to a traditional dessert by using rhubarb instead of jam
Rhubarb queen of puddings
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus chilling time
  • Effort: medium


For the rhubarb

  • 200 g sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 50 ml grenadine
  • 5 g ginger
  • 500 g Yorkshire (outdoor) rhubarb, sliced into 3cm pieces

For the pudding base

  • 150 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 25 g sugar
  • 2 oranges, zest only
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 600 ml milk
  • 50 g butter

For the meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds only
  • 240 g sugar
  • crème fraîche, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

2. For the rhubarb: put the sugar, vanilla (scraped seeds and pod), grenadine, ginger and 250ml water into a saucepan and stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until it reaches a syrupy consistency.

3. Arrange the sliced rhubarb in a baking dish, pour over the syrup and bake for 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is just tender, but not falling to pieces. Remove from the oven, cool, then transfer to the fridge and leave to chill in the liquor until ready to use.

4. For the pudding base: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.

5. Combine the breadcrumbs, sugar, orange zest and egg yolks in a mixing bowl.

6. Put the milk and butter into a heavy-based saucepan and heat until the butter melts. Pour into the breadcrumb mixture and stir until combined.

7. Transfer the mixture to a pudding dish and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the meringue. Leave the oven heating.

8. For the meringue: with an electric beater, whisk the egg whites with the vanilla seeds until the mixture will hold soft peaks.

9. Put the sugar and 50ml water into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook until the temperature reaches 121C on a sugar thermometer. Remove from the heat and, with the motor running, pour the sugar syrup slowly into the egg white mixture and continue to whisk until cold.

10. To assemble the pudding, spoon some rhubarb over the bread custard, top with waves of meringue and bake for 10 minutes until brown.

11. Serve with crème fraîche.

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