What better way to enjoy the summer sun than a refreshing, cool dessert? It’s time to treat yourself to a delish, lip-smacking sensory experience and Michelin-starred TV chef John Burton-Race shows you how with this rhubarb and custard recipe! He says, “The idea of rhubarb and custard is a simple one. This recipe takes these remembered flavours and builds on them, creating a delicious, elegant dessert.”

Born in Singapore in 1957, John Burton Race spent his formative years traveling extensively alongside his diplomat father. These influences are still visible in his food, which combines his innovative ideas with the best of British produce.

Here is the Rhubarb & Custard Recipe vegetarians will love!

rhubarb and custard recipe

Photo via chef John Burton-Race

For the braised rhubarb

10 sticks of fresh rhubarb

2 vanilla pods

3 oranges

200g sugar

100g water

5tbsp grenadine


  1. First, cut the rhubarb into 2-inch batons and put into a vacuum vac with the water, sugar, and grenadine.
  2. Cut down the vanilla pods and scrape out the seeds, putting the pods and seeds into the bag.
  3. Using a peeler – peel 1 orange and remove the zest, then add to the rhubarb. Cut the oranges in half and squeeze all the juice into the bag.
  4. Vacuum the bag and then cook in a sous vide for 12-16 minutes at 74 degrees.
  5. Once cooked, remove from the sous vide and leave to cool on the side for 10 minutes before placing into the fridge.

For the syrup

  1. Cut open the bags of rhubarb and using the liquid in the bag, pour into a pan with 200ml of 22% stock syrup, which consists of 44g of caster sugar and 156g of water. Once the syrup starts to form big bubbles, let cool then place in a bottle.

For the meringues

50g egg whites

100g caster sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar

  1. Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites until foamy then add the cream of tartar. Once stiff peaks form slowly add the caster sugar until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
  2. Places the mixture in a piping bag and pipe small 1-inch round meringues on a silpat. Place into an oven pre-heated at 73 degrees and cook for at least 5 hours minimum or for the best results, overnight. The meringues should appear glass-like to touch.

For the set custard

500g whole milk

500g double cream

12 egg yolks (212g)

180g sugar

2 vanilla pods

10 gelatine leaves (soaked in water)

  • In a pan bring the milk, cream, and vanilla to the boil, whilst the mixture is coming to the boil whisk the yolks and sugar in a bowl. Once the milk/cream has boiled, add half to the egg mixture and whisk well. Add the combined mixture back into the pan and cook until the cream anglaise is made. Squeeze out the water from the gelatine and add the leaves to the mixture. Pass and set into moulds and place into the fridge for at least 1 hour.

For the shortbread biscuits

375g butter

165g caster sugar

540g plain flour

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth, stir in the flour to get a smooth paste. Roll the paste into 1½ inch ballotines and place in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next day cut shortbread into 3mm slices and cook on a silpat at 170 degrees for 5-8mins or until golden brown. Remove and place onto a wire rack and dust with golden caster sugar.

For the ice cream

1.) 400g sugar

200g trimoline

35g milk powder

680g egg yolk


2.) 1800g whole milk

1200g double cream

4 vanilla pods

6 coffee beans

  1. Bring mixture 2. to 50 degrees then pour ½ of the mixture to 1. Mix together then return to pan and bring to 70 degrees and hold it for 5 minutes, always scraping the bottom. Pass and cool, and once cool place into paco jet beaker or churn in ice cream maker.


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How to master vegetarian Canotonese cooking