Maple-syrup custard with rhubarb

Serves 6

Rhubarb makes a lovely pudding with this baked custard or even simply folded through soft vanilla ice-cream.

For the custard

1 litre/35fl oz double cream
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways
The peel of one lemon
The yolks of 12 organic free-range eggs
4 whole organic free-range eggs
150g/5oz caster sugar
200ml/7fl oz maple syrup
150ml/5fl oz marsala wine

For the rhubarb

5 sticks of rhubarb
180g/6oz sugar
1 cup of water or verjus
1 vanilla pod
The peel of one lemon

To make the custard, start by placing the cream, vanilla pod and lemon peel into a saucepan, place on the hob and bring to just below a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside for around 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Beat the whole eggs and yolks together until well combined. Add the sugar and continue to beat. Add the maple syrup and marsala and stir well. Strain the infused cream through a colander into the egg mixture. Stir and pour into a baking dish.

Gently lay the baking dish in a bain marie – in this case, a roasting tray filled with warm water. You need to make sure that the water comes no further than halfway up the side of the pan. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for around 30 minutes. The custard should be golden-brown on top but still wobbly in the centre. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Place the sticks of rhubarb on a baking tray and sprinkle with the sugar. Drizzle with the water or verjus and tuck the vanilla pod and lemon peel among the sticks. Roast on the middle of the oven at 180C/350F/Gas4 for 20 minutes or until soft. Remove and allow to cool before serving with the custard. '

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