Eating Fresh: How to Make Homemade Rhubarb Custard

Getting ready to make custard

Editor’s Note:  Cooking and baking with fresh food doesn’t have to be complicated. Author Kathy Harrison will show you how to use rhubarb from your backyard to create a simple, mouthwatering dessert. Enjoy!

After a winter of food primarily from the freezer, root cellar or cannery, it is time for something fresh. Today I found the rhubarb poking up. Rhubarb is not fancy. It doesn’t have the panache of asparagus not the beauty of a strawberry. It is rather plain but therein lies its virtue. It is a reliable old friend, growing well despite erratic weather. It is just as happy during a warm, dry spring as it is when April is wet and cold. I think every yard should have a clump or two.

Rhubarb in the ground

Here is my fresh rhubarb still in the ground.

As the chickens are laying well and my raw milk CSA had wonderful rich cream, I went looking for a recipe for rhubarb custard. I didn’t find one, but I didn’t let that stop me. Custard is, after all, just custard. You can do anything to it.

I began by sautéing about 2 cups of rhubarb dusted with 1/3 cup of sugar in a bit of butter. I did this over very low heat. The idea is to soften the rhubarb and get it to release a bit of juice. While this was going on, I got to work on the custard.

We all have a favorite baked custard recipe. This is mine.

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs or two eggs and an extra yolk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of rich milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • A pinch of coarse salt

You can mix this by hand, but I use my stand mixer to ensure there are no lumps at all.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Layer the rhubarb in the bottom of a deep pie dish that has been wiped with some butter. Pour in the rhubarb first and then the custard mix. Bake it until fully set. I found just under 30 minutes was just right. It will continue to set up as it cools. I like to eat mine warm with some lightly whipped cream and no one will complain if you have few strawberries to sprinkle across the top.

Rhubarb Custard

Freshly-made Rhubarb Custard, right from the oven…yum!

This is plain eating at its finest. The food is local, inexpensive and abundant. Enjoy and Happy Spring to you!

Kathy Harrison

About Kathy Harrison

Kathy Harrison is the author of Just in Case, Another Place at the Table, and One Small Boat. She is a national spokesperson for both foster parenting and family preparedness and has appeared on The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and National Public Radio. She lives with her family in western Massachusetts.