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Ainsley Harriott’s Baked Vanilla and Ginger Custard with Stem Ginger Rhubarb

Ainsley Harriott's fragrant, vanilla and ginger-infused baked custard is served with tangy poached rhubarb for an irresistible flavour combination.


This is an old-fashioned, comforting baked custard with a twist. Stem ginger syrup adds a gentle sweet spice to the creamy custard and it works perfectly with tart rhubarb and ginger. You really can’t beat the winning combination of rhubarb and custard and it brings back so many joyful childhood memories. If you prefer a punchier ginger flavour or you don’t have a jar of stem ginger, you can add a tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger to the custard and rhubarb. The baked custard is also delicious with poached plums or peaches.

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3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
50g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
250ml milk
200ml double cream
zest of ½ orange
2–3 tbsp syrup from a jar of stem ginger
½ tsp ground ginger
For the stem ginger rhubarb:
500g rhubarb, cut into 4cm lengths
2 pieces of stem ginger, thinly sliced
1 star anise (optional)
zest and juice of 1 large orange
80g light brown or caster sugar


Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla extract.

Put the milk, cream and orange zest in a saucepan over a low-medium heat and heat, stirring, to just below boiling point. Stir in the stem ginger syrup. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk into the eggs in the bowl. Pour into a 1-litre baking dish (strain through a sieve if you want to remove the zest).

Stand the baking dish in a deep roasting tin and pour hot water into the tin until it comes halfway up the baking dish. Sift the ground ginger over the top of the custard. Bake for 40–45 minutes until set but with a slight wobble.

Meanwhile, put the rhubarb, stem ginger, star anise (if using), orange zest and juice, sugar and 2 tbsp water into a saucepan over a medium heat. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 5–7 minutes depending on the thickness of the rhubarb, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, the liquid is syrupy and the rhubarb is cooked but still holding its shape.

Serve warm or chilled.

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