John Pountney's Creme Brulee with Roasted Rhubarb

Everyone loves crème brulee and the rhubarb is a fantastic foil to the richness of the custard. This is a very popular dessert at The Refreshment Room, and rhubarb is one of my favourite fruits. A great winter standby and dead easy to grow in the garden.


Serves 6

Crème brulee:
1 litre cream
150g sugar
10 egg yolks
seeds of 2 vanilla pods
6 ramakins (soufflé dishes – about 4-5 cms across, 3 cms deep)

Roasted rhubarb:
1 kg rhubarb stalks
300g brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
peel of 1 orange
1 vanilla pod deseeded.


Preheat oven to 150C
Crème brulee:
Beat egg yolks and sugar with whisk gently. Meanwhile bring crème and vanilla to the boil. Pour boiling cream over eggs and sugar, return the mixture to pot and cook over a low heat until thickened. Temperature should not exceed 82-83 degrees C. Pour mixture immediately into the ramakins, and place on a baking dish filled with hot water, so that it comes halfway up the ramakins. Cover baking dish with foil and place in preheated oven and cook for 15-20mins or until just set. Remove from oven and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 250C
Roasted rhubarb:
Remove top and bottom of rhubarb stalks. Wash and chop into 3cm pieces. Combine with rest of ingredients. Place on baking tray lined with baking paper, spread out. Place in preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes.

To serve:
Gently warm rhubarb mix.
To finish brulee, top with one teaspoon of castor sugar and caramalise with blow torch. Serve with the rhubarb to the side.