Now I have to confess to be slightly late in posting this one, so apologies and please store it up for when Rhubarb is in the shops again. That being said Rhubarb and Custard is an absolute English classic and frankly cannot be beaten as a flavour combination, be it in a Crumble (a personal favourite), or just poured on a Rhubarb compote. Rhubarb Upsidedown cake is another classic, and my venture into German baking last year revealed a rich vein of recipes one of which was an absolutely delicious Rhubarb and Custard Cake.
However thanks to the lovely Maren Lubbe of Malu’s Koestlichkeiten, I have gone slightly Entrement mad these days and decided to branch out from her Buche Noel recipe to recreate this English Classic in Buche form.
I wanted to pair it with something with a bit of crunch so finally, after many requests from he who must always be obeyed, I decided on Pink Peppercorn Shortbread, – now quite an old twist on another much loved English classic.
The occasion was a lunch to re-unite my mother with an old friend she has not seen for nearly 15 years. As the theme was friendship, I found this wonderful heart shaped Buche mat which puts a lovely heart pattern all over your sweet delight.
It was a happy occasion and it was lovely to see 2 ladies in their 80’s reconnecting. The pudding met with suitable “Ooh’s” and the beloved was much appreciative of a welcome break from the rigours of the diet we had been on for 7 weeks.
Like all these types of dessert you do need some special equipment and a bit of time to allow things to freeze between each stage. On the plus side though Once made, bar the decoration stage, it can be left in the freezer for a while before you want to use it.
In particular you need to buy
- Buche mould with heart mat
- No 9 Midi Buche Mould
- Red Cocoa Butter Spray
- Heart shaped biscuit cutters
If you don’t have the moulds you can do it using a 6″ cake ring as a mould to create a round torte.
You make this in 5 stages
- Rhubarb Jelly
- Almond Dacquoise
- Vanilla Mousse
- Red Peppercorn Shortbread
- 300g rhubarb sliced
- 1 tbsp water
- 80 g caster sugar
- 3 sheets of gelatine (10cm x 7cm)
- soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water
- place the rhubarb and sugar in pan
- heat until it becomes a fluid compote and take off the heat
- allow to cool below 80C
- squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine
- stir the gelatine into the compote
- pour the mixture into the midi buche mould (you need at least 3)
- place in the freezer until frozen hard (usually about 5 hours)
- 50g ground almonds
- 40g icing sugar
- 60g egg white (2 medium eggs does the trick)
- 20g caster sugar
- 15g plain flour
- 1-2 tbsp chopped almonds
- icing sugar to dust
- heat the oven to 180C / 160C fan
- mark a piece of baking parchment with a rectangle the same size as the bottom of your mould (in this case 25cm x 9cm)
- sieve the icing sugar and mix with ground almonds
- whisk the egg whites until stiffening and then whilst the mixer is still going add the sugar one spoon at a time until stiff
- fold the flour, almond & icing sugar mixture into the egg white
- spread or pipe over the baking parchment making sure you go over the edge of your rectangle
- sprinkle with your chopped almonds
- lightly dust with icing sugar
- bake for 15 to 20 minutes
- allow to cool
- cut back to the rectangle size you need (25cm x 9cm)
- 400g milk
- 550g double cream
- 4 tsp vanila bean paste
- 100g caster sugar
- 10 egg yolks
- 3 sheets of gelatine
- put the gelatine sheets into a bowl of cold water
- place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy.
- put the vanilla bean paste, milk and cream in a pan and bring to the boil.
- once the milk and cream have come to the boil, remove the pan from the heat.
- pour half of the liquid onto the egg yolk mixture and mix well.
- return all of the mixture to the pan and cook over a low heat.
- stir continually until the mixture reaches 80°C (don’t let it go above or it will curdle) and coats the back of a spoon.
- squeeze the water out of the gelatine and stir into the custard until dissolved.
- pass the custard through a fine sieve into a large bowl.
- place the heart mat in the Buche mould with the pattern facing award (sorry I know this seems obvious but saying it just in case …..)
- fill your buche mould with the custard mousse until 2/3rds full
- de-mould 3 of your rhubarb jellies and place end to end in the middle of the mould
- cover with a thin layer of custard mousse
- place your dacquoise on the top, nutty side inwards
- put in the freezer overnight
Pink Peppercorn Shortbread Biscuits
- 225g softened butter
- 110 g caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling
- 225g plain flour
- 110g cornflour
- a pinch of sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon lightly crushed pink peppercorns plus extra for garnish
Method – the dough
- add butter and sugar to the bowl and beat until creamed,
- sift flour and cornflour into a separate bowl
- add to your creamed butter and sugar and mix slowly until just combined (do not overwork the dough – just combined means just that!)
- roll out the dough 5mm thick between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper
- put in the fridge for at least 45 minutes
- line a baking tray with baking parchment
Method – baking the biscuits
- line a large baking tray with baking parchment
- preheat your oven to 140°C Fan
- cut the dough using heart shaped cutters (size of your choice), ensuring you have at least 6 small ones for decorating your mousse
- place your shortbread hearts on a baking tray.
- bake in the oven until pale golden in colour – small ones take 10-15 minutes – larger ones take upto 40 minutes
- if the shortbread begins to turn brown before it is cooked, turn your temperature down by 10 ℃
- remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack before sprinkling with caster sugar and crushed pink peppercorns.
- you need to do this 6 hours before serving
- ensure your cocoa butter spray is at room temperature
- spraying your entremet with cocoa butter spray is a messy business so make the following preparations
- cover a board with cling film (I still have a board with signs of chocolate cocoa butter 10 months after using it without protection)
- get a large cardboard box and cut the bottom out to create a spraying chamber
- take your entremet out of the freezer
- ensure it is frozen sold
- carefully take out of the mould and remove the heart shaped mat
- carefully shave away any excess dacquoise to ensure the base is flush with the mousse
- place the mousse on the cling film covered board inside the box and spray the cocoa butter over it until fully covered
- take care to not do too much or else you will lose the heart pattern
- decorate to your taste
- allow the entremet to defrost for about 3-4 hours at room temperature and then pt in the fridge
- take out one hour before serving
- serve and enjoy !