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Rhubarb and Custard Jellies

/ Categories Tricks of the trade, Recipes, Behind the scenes / Author:

Rhubarb and Custard Jellies

This week in the Bake Off tent contestants were challenged with a signature meringue, a trembling technical and a complex chocolate showstopper. Try your hand at gelatine without throwing a wobbly with our simple, yet stunning Rhubarb and Custard Jellies.


Serves 8 - 10

Rhubarb Layer
1kg rhubarb
225g golden caster sugar
1 orange, juiced
6 gelatine leaves
pink food colouring, optional (paste is preferable)

Custard Layer
300ml whole milk
300ml double cream
2 vanilla pods
5 gelatine leaves, approx (check by measuring liquid and use ¾ of the amount of leaves according to packet instructions. It will differ depending on the brand used and the custard will also thicken on its own whilst cooling)
125g caster sugar
4 egg yolks


  1. First cook the rhubarb. Some of this will be used to make the jelly and some will be served on top. Place the rhubarb and golden caster sugar into a pan with the orange juice. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 – 5 minutes or until the rhubarb is just soft. Remove approx 1 tablespoon for each person for decoration, and set aside to cool. Continue to cook the remaining rhubarb for a further 3 - 5 minutes or until the rhubarb is really soft.
  2. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve ( lined with a muslin cloth if you have one for the clearest of jellies) pushing gently with the back of a wooden spoon to make sure all the juice is released. Once strained, measure the liquid, calculate the necessary amount of gelatine leaves according to packet instructions. Soak the leaves in cold water for 5 minutes.
  3. Return the rhubarb juice to a pan and warm over a low heat. If the rhubarb juice isn’t very pink, add a drop or two of pink food colouring paste until you achieve the desired colour. Once warmed through, squeeze the excess water from the soaked gelatine and add to the rhubarb liquid. Stir through until completely dissolved then leave the jelly in the warm pan and allow it to cool to blood temperature while you make and set the custard layer.
  4. Next make the custard layer. Put the milk and cream into a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod down one side, then scrape out all the seeds. Add the pod and seeds to the milk and place the pan over a medium heat. Scald, by gently heating until steaming. Just as bubbles appear round the edge of the pan, take it off the heat and remove the pod and any skin that has formed.
  5. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl and stir to mix Pour in a little of the scalded milk and stir, then add the remaining milk gradually, stirring continuously until fully combined. Rinse out the saucepan.
  6. Return the egg and milk mixture to the cleaned pan. Place over a low to medium heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon. First the custard will steam, which is an indication that it is about to thicken. Watch it carefully and keep stirring, getting the wooden spoon well into the corners.
  7. To test if the custard has thickened, remove it from the heat and draw the back of the spoon through the liquid. It should coat the back of the spoon evenly and not drop away and pool at the base of the spoon. When you draw a clean finger down the back of the spoon through the custard the trail should remain. This indicates the custard is ready. When you reach this point immediately strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  8. Measure the liquid and calculate 3/4 of the amount of gelatine recommended for that amount according to the packet instructions. (This is because the custard is already thicker than a watery liquid so needs less gelatine to set it). Soak the leaves of gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes, then remove the gelatine leaves from the water, squeeze out any excess liquid, add to the warm custard and stir well. Divide equally between 8 – 10 serving glasses and allow to cool in the fridge.
  9. When the custard has just set, divide the rhubarb jelly mixture between the glasses and allow to cool in the fridge.
  10. Remove the jellies from the fridge 20 minutes before serving, top with some of the poached rhubarb and serve.

Author: Ailie Bishop

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