Rhubarb and Custard Pie-pudding
  • Prep time:

  • Cook time:

  • Total time:

  • Portion/Yield:

    Serves 6
  • Difficulty:


Recipes like this one make my heart flutter and really make me miss my mother! She still lives in South Africa and I truly take after her as she too loves a good pudding and if it includes custard, she’s an even happier woman. Although my mum, Dalene, doesn’t have a lot of patience, she’s a good baker and she follows recipes methodically and always gets good results. Custard, pastry and rhubarb are possibly my mother’s favourite ingredients and for me the added rum just brings that extra special touch to this dessert.

It might seem a bit of a long-winded process to make this pie-pudding, but I hope you can trust me enough to give it a go, as it’s well worth the effort and is truly delicious. This rustic pudding is perfect for celebrating Mother’s Day.photo of Rhubarb and Custard Pie-puddingRhubarb and Custard Pie-puddingphoto of Rhubarb and Custard Pie-puddingRhubarb and Custard Pie-puddingphoto of Rhubarb and Custard Pie-puddingRhubarb and Custard Pie-puddingphoto of Rhubarb and Custard Pie-puddingRhubarb and Custard Pie-pudding

Ingredients & Method

For the pastry

  • 60g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 25g ground almonds

For the poached rhubarb

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100ml cold water
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
  • 500g outdoor rhubarb, washed, drained and cut into 2cm slices

For the pastry cream

  • 500ml milk
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50g cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum

The pastry requires a minimum of 2 hours resting and my suggestion would be to make the pastry a day in advance, then leave it to rest in the fridge and make the rest of the pudding the following day.

Make the pastry. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and rum and beat to incorporate. Sift the flour and baking powder over the creamed mixture and fold in, along with the ground almonds, to make a soft dough.

Turn the dough on to a sheet of cling film and bring the dough together, but do not knead it. Wrap the dough tightly in the cling film, then chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

For the poached rhubarb, put the sugar, water and vanilla seeds in a saucepan and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then turn the heat up, bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 1 minute. Reduce the heat, then add the rhubarb to the pan, cover and poach over a low heat for 5 minutes. Do not overcook the rhubarb, otherwise it will collapse and lose its shape – it is better if the rhubarb is still a little crunchy at this stage. Drain the rhubarb through a fine sieve, reserving the rhubarb and syrup separately. Spread the rhubarb over the base of a deep 24cm round ovenproof dish. Set aside while you make the pastry cream.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5.

Make the pastry cream. Rinse a clean saucepan with cold water and drain, but do not dry the pan. Add the milk and vanilla seeds to the pan and cook over a medium heat until the milk just starts to boil, then remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together to form a smooth paste. Pour half of the hot milk over the egg mixture, stirring to mix well. Return the egg mixture to the remaining hot milk in the pan, then return to the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened, stirring continuously. Stir in the rum. Pour the hot pastry cream over the poached rhubarb in the dish.

Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 7–8mm thickness. Cut out a 24cm round and carefully place this over the hot pastry cream, tucking in the edges slightly inside the dish, if necessary. Use a metal skewer to make about 6–8 steam holes in the pastry. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked, golden brown and crisp.

Remove from the oven and let the pie-pudding cool for 15 minutes, then brush the reserved rhubarb vanilla syrup over the top of the pastry to glaze. Cut into wedges to serve and serve either warm or cold. If there is any leftover reserved rhubarb syrup, reheat it gently and serve with the pie-pudding.

Cook’s Note

This pie-pudding is truly delicious and I could happily make one for every season. Replace the poached rhubarb with poached apples and blackberries, pears (poached with saffron), or poached quinces or pineapple, if you like.

Leave a comment