- 1 kg rhubarb, washed and cut into 2cm lengths
- 150 g vanilla sugar (see tip), plus extra for dusting
- 500 ml milk
- 500 ml double cream
- pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
- 4 eggs
- 170 g caster sugar
- butter, plus extra for greasing
- pinch of salt
- 1 loaf soft white bread, sliced
- For the cinnamon and vanilla ice cream
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 500 ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- 500 ml cream
- 10 egg yolks
- 225 g caster sugar
- To make the ice cream, whiz the cinnamon stick in a blender until roughly ground. Place the milk in a pan with the ground cinnamon and the split vanilla pod and seeds. Bring slowly to the boil, add the cream and leave to cool and infuse for about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. Then add the milk, cream, cinnamon and vanilla mixture and whisk together. Pour back into the pan and heat gently until the mixture just coats the back of a wooden spoon. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a large plastic container. Then place it in a sink full of iced water. Pour into an ice-cream machine and churn for 40 minutes until set.
- Meanwhile, place the rhubarb in a pan with the vanilla sugar and gently cook for about 15 minutes until starting to soften and the juices are running. Remove the rhubarb from the heat and, together with its juices, put it in a sieve over a bowl. Allow to drain and leave to stand for about 30 minutes to cool. The strained juices will be used for a coulis.
- Combine the milk and double cream. Add a pinch of salt, the vanilla seeds and the pod. Bring to a gentle boil then set aside to allow the vanilla to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC/330ºF/gas mark 3½.
- Beat the eggs and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Pass the milk and cream mixture through a sieve into the egg and sugar mixture. Stir together.
- Butter a large square or rectangular dish (about 24 x 24 x 5cm) and start by placing a thin layer of rhubarb on the bottom. Butter slices of bread, remove the crusts and cut into triangles then place butter side down on top of the rhubarb, slightly overlapping as you go to create a single layer.
- Repeat with a layer of rhubarb on top of the bread and then a bread layer, but place it butter side up this time. Ladle the cream mixture carefully over the layers until it fills the dish to the top. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes.
- Place the dish in a large roasting tray, half filled with boiling water. Dust the surface with vanilla sugar and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
- To make the rhubarb coulis, pour the drained rhubarb syrup into a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until reduced by half. Allow to cool.
- ED’S TIP: Keep used vanilla pods and push into a bag of sugar to make vanilla sugar.
Recipe taken from The Best Of British, published by Kyle Cathie Ltd