Rosy rhubarb in March’s kitchen

In the midst of our house move – (only 2 weeks to go!) I can’t resist using the forced rhubarb that we have growing away inside the old forcing pot. We’ll have to take it off the rhubarb when we go so we might as well enjoy those tender stems of rosy pink magic while we can! The new residents will have a couple of clumps of main crop rhubarb to enjoy so I don’t feel guilty!

I’ve packed all my baking tins of course so no rhubarb cakes pies or tarts so I simply roasted a batch to enjoy with ice cream or yoghurt.

Then I remembered this old recipe that my mum used to make. Although she had a sweet tooth like me she always found traditional Eton Mess a bit too sweet so in the rhubarb season she would make a rhubarb version. Perfect as the tang of the rhubarb cuts through the sweetness of the meringue.

Rhubarb and Custard Eton Mess

Serves 2 generously. Takes about half an hour plus cooling time.

For a really easy, quick pud use shop bought meringues and custard

200g rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces

1-2 tbspn caster sugar

150g custard

2 ready made meringues

150ml double cream

1 tbspn icing sugar

½ tspn vanilla extract

About 4 chunks of white chocolate

  • Put the rhubarb pieces into a shallow baking tray and scatter over the sugar. Cover loosely with foil and pop in the oven 180C/160fan/gas4 for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to roast for about 5 minutes until the rhubarb pieces are tender but still holding their shape
  • Forced rhubarb - web
  • If you want to make a softer compote then just carry on roasting for a little while longer and stir together
  • Carefully remove from the pan and pour the juices into a small saucepan. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken into a syrup
  • Leave everything to cool
  • Add the icing sugar and the vanilla to the cream and whip until the cream forms soft peaks
  • Now create your Eton Mess! Put a few pieces of rhubarb along with a drizzle of the syrup in the bottom of a couple of serving dishes then follow with layers of cream, meringue, custard and chocolate. Repeat a second time then pop some extra rhubarb on the top and drizzle over the last of the rhubarb syrup along with a good grating of chocolate.
  • Rhubarb & custard Eton Mess. web

This is best eaten straight away so that the meringue is still crunchy. If making ahead save a bit of meringue to sprinkle over the top at the last minute.