Double cream custard, meringue, rhubarb, heather honey

The Recipes / Dessert

The Torridon, Wester Ross

200ml double cream
50ml full fat milk
30g caster sugar
1g pectin
30g egg yolks

60g egg whites
100g castor sugar

Rhubarb sorbet
500/300g rhubarb (see method)
30g caster sugar
2 leaves bronze gelatine

Heather honey tuille
100g heather honey
130g plain flour
130g soft unsalted butter
120g egg whites

Serves 4

This dish is a great example of refinement done simply; it has a perfect balance of taste, texture and temperature. Use the best double cream and milk you can find as the quality of the produce will greatly affect the flavour of the finished custard. We use heather honey for the tuille for its amazing floral flavour; use the best you have available where you are.

Before you start making the custard, make sure all the equipment is to hand and the moulds prepared. To set the custard we use ring moulds with cling film tightly wrapped across the base to stop any leaks. You will also need a fine sieve and a jug before you start.

Warm the cream and milk gently until it reaches around 50˚C. Mix the sugar and pectin together in a small bowl until very well combined – this is a vital step or the pectin will not dissolve evenly when its added to the dairy and will form little balls. Add the sugar mix to the cream, increase the temperature and boil for 2 minutes while continuously whisking. Pour the boiling mixture over the egg yolks, again whisking to ensure the yolks don’t curdle. Pass this mixture through the fine sieve immediately into a jug and divide equally into the already prepared moulds. Allow the custards to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature before transferring to the fridge.

In a food mixer, slowly start to whisk the egg whites for the meringue until they start to become fluffy. Add half the sugar and increase the speed, then after 30 seconds add the remaining sugar and whisk on high speed for 1 minute. The resulting meringue should be thick and shiny. Transfer the mix into ovenproof moulds, roughly the same size as those used for the custards, and bake in a bain marie for 10 minutes at 160˚C. Once cooked, leave the meringues to cool in the bain marie for 5 minutes before chilling in the fridge for later.

We force the rhubarb in our kitchen garden through the winter so it starts to grow in late March. To maximise the flavour we make a rhubarb juice to poach the rhubarb for the sorbet, but you can skip this step to save time, in which case you’ll be poaching the rhubarb in sugared water.

Juice 200g of rhubarb with the skin still on. Weigh the resulting juice and add 20% of the weight of the juice in castor sugar (so if you have 150g of juice you need 30g of sugar). On a low heat dissolve the sugar in the rhubarb juice.

Chop the remaining 300g of rhubarb into roughly 1cm pieces and poach in the sweetened juice (or water with the caster sugar). Once tender, increase the heat and stir until the pan is nearly dry. Blend the rhubarb and pass through a fine sieve. Soak the 2 leaves of gelatine in cold water, melt into the warm rhubarb purée and churn in an ice cream machine.

For the tuille, combine the honey, flour and butter to make a smooth paste, then gradually incorporate the egg whites. Rest the mix in the fridge for at least 1 hour before rolling into 10g balls and baking on a non stick baking sheet at 160˚C for 6 minutes.

To serve, remove the custard from the fridge 30 minutes before serving to adjust to room temperature. Make a small hole in the poached meringue and fill with sorbet. It’s easier to place the filled meringue on top of the tuille and rest this on top of the custard rather than handle the meringue too much.