‘rhubarb and custard’

recipe by Courtney Jane Watson

egg custard tart, rhubarb mousse, rhubarb and custard macaron, rhubarb gel, poached rhubarb, and dehydrated rhubarb with raspberry coulis, strawberries, and ruby chocolate shards 

Servings: 10


Courtney Jane Watson became Head Pastry Chef at The Cliff Hotel, Gorleston, at 23 years of age. She has worked in pastry for almost 10 years, working in Norfolk venues and using homegrown seasonal produce. Courtney Jane also worked alongside Benoit Blin and Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir, someone who is her biggest inspiration when it comes to cooking. With experience in high teas, cakes, wedding cakes, and patisserie, her next venture begins at the new opening of The Kings Head in Brooke as their Pastry Chef.

Chef’s note: My take on rhubarb and custard sprang from one of my dad’s favourite desserts around Father’s Day. It is a more technical dessert, but the same goes with any recipe in pastry – challenging yet very rewarding when it comes out perfectly! This dish was served during my time at The Cliff Hotel and it was a massive seller!

Find Courtney on instagram @pastrychefcourtneyw


for the pastry

for the custard 9 egg yolks 80g caster sugar 520ml whipping cream 2 whole nutmegs

for the poached

for the rhubarb mousse


  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3. Line an 8” tart tin with greaseproof paper, place on a baking tray, and set aside.

  2. Make the pastry by rubbing together the flour, salt and butter until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix.

  3. Beat together the egg and the egg yolk, and add these to the mixture. Mix until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap tightly in cling-film and rest for two hours in the fridge.

  4. Remove from the fridge and roll the pastry out to a 2mm thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Once rolled, place the pastry into the tin, ensuring to press into the ‘corners’. Line your pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice, which I prefer to use. Blind bake for 10 minutes until the pastry starts to look golden brown. Remove the baking beans and paper and allow to cool.

  5. Turn the oven down to 130°C/Gas Mark 1 while you make the custard mixture.

  6. Place a medium saucepan over a low heat and bring the cream to a boil. Whisk the eggs and the sugar together in a separate bowl. Add the hot cream to the egg mixture and mix well. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a jug, ready to be poured into your tart case.

  7. Still on its baking tray, place the tart case into the oven and pour in the custard until full to the brim. Grate the nutmeg all over the top and bake for 30-40 minutes until the custard appears set but still has a slight wobble.

  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving or place in the fridge to firm up a bit more beforehand.

  9. For the poached rhubarb, put the sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat until it boils. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rhubarb and immediately turn off the heat. Put the pan aside for 15 minutes, then remove the rhubarb from the syrup and either serve immediately or
    place in the fridge until required. My tip is to use a shot of grenadine to keep forced rhubarb pink during the cooking process!

  10. For the rhubarb mousse, put the rhubarb in a large saucepan with two tablespoons of Disaronno, the water, and 80g sugar, and cook over a medium heat until the rhubarb breaks down. Transfer to a blender/ use a stick blender, add the gelatine and lime juice, and process until smooth. At this point, the rhubarb will taste quite tart, so if you want a sweeter mousse, add another 50g sugar while purée is hot.

  11. Over a Bain-marie, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until they turn pale. Cook over bubbling water until they thicken, then cool to room temperature and combine with the rhubarb purée.

  12. Finally, whip the cream with the rest of the Disaronno or almond extract until stiff peaks are formed. Fold in the rhubarb, cover, and leave in the fridge to set for three hours before piping.

  13. To plate, brush some raspberry coulis across the plate. Cut a generous slice of the custard tart and place on the plate, with some poached rhubarb on the side. Pipe on some rhubarb mousse and decorate as you wish – I use macarons, strawberries, and ruby chocolate shards!

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