Cakes & Bakes: Rhubarb and custard tart

Home-made rhubarb and custard tart | H is for Home

One of the things that Todmorden is famous for is Incredible Edible, a group of local people who have started something of a revolution, growing food in public places in & around the town centre.

Incredible Edible rhubarb, peas, onions and chives growing in Todmorden Train Station car park

There are vegetables outside the police station and local community college, herbs along the canal tow-path and in the train station and an apothecary garden in the grounds of the health centre.

Stalks of rhubarb with metal colander

Everything is free for anyone to come along and help themselves – or even do a little weeding and clearing if the fancy takes them!

Measuring jug with eggs, custard powder and vanilla essence

The train station is on one of our daily dog-walking routes and it’s been lovely watching the progress of the peas, red onions, chives and the like.

Making custard

This week, along with the dog, I left the house with a pair of scissors and a carrier bag and cut a few stems of rhubarb – to use in a rhubarb and custard tart.

Pouring custard on tart pastry base

Rhubarb & custard is a classic British combination as is baked custard tart. I’ve put them together and come up with a delicious dessert.

Sticks of rhubarb in custard

I used the same pastry recipe as last week’s pear tart and made sure to add a tad more sugar than normal to the custard recipe… and a tablespoonful of Bird’s Custard Powder.

Home-made rhubarb and custard tart | H is for Home

The sweetness of the custard and the tartness of the rhubarb worked incredibly well – I’ll be making this one again before the end of the rhubarb season.

Rhubarb and custard tart
Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the pastry base
  1. 200g/7oz plain flour
  2. 60g/2oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 125g/4½oz very cold butter
  5. 1 egg yolk
For the custard
  1. 400ml/14 fl oz double cream
  2. 100ml/3½ fl oz creamy milk
  3. 2 eggs, plus 2 yolks
  4. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  5. 1tbsp custard powder
  6. 1tsp vanilla extractHome-made fat rascals ingredients
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For the pastry base
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the tart tin and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the tin. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the pastry case to a cooling rack; keeping it in its tin
For the custard
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, slowly bring the cream and milk to a simmer
  2. In a large, heat-proof measuring jug, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, custard powder and vanilla essence
  3. Pour the hot cream & milk mixture into the bowl, whisking continuously
  4. Carefully strain the custard on to the cooked pastry base (don't overfill)
  5. Slice the rhubarb into lengths and place into a pattern in the custard
  6. Carefully put the tart tin into the oven (rearrange the rhubarb lengths if they drift in the liquid during the move!)
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top begins to brown
  8. Remove from the oven, sprinkle a little granulated sugar over the top and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes : Bakes: Crème caramel

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Home-made heart shaped crème caramel | H is for Home #recipe #cremecaramel #caramel

I got, not one but two, pressure cookers in a mixed lot at auction last week. I’d been after one for a while – it’s a piece of kit that was always being used in my parents’ (and my friends’ parents’) kitchen.

Small Le Creuset heart-shaped ramekins in the pressure cooker

I haven’t used one in decades. They’re superb for cooking bean, pulse and rice dishes in particular…

Caramel poured into moulds

…but this is a ‘Cakes & Bakes‘ post, so a more suitable dish was required. I spent last night looking at all manner of pressure cooker recipes and decided on crème caramel.

Making custard for crème caramel

Probably not something you’d immediately think of making in a pressure cooker – but it appeared quite straightforward, so ideal for me to reacquaint myself with the hissing and steaming beast.

tin foil covered heart-shaped ramekins in a pressure cooker

The results were actually delicious!

Crème caramel
For the caramel
  1. 100g sugar
For the custard
  1. 250ml/½pt whole milk
  2. 3 eggs, 2 whole plus one yolk
  3. ½tbsp vanilla extract
  4. 125g sugarHome-made crème caramel ingredients
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  1. In your widest sauté pan, add the sugar and turn the flame to high and wait. DO NOT STIR - at most, pick up the pan and swish it around to make sure the sugar is evenly melted in the caramel
  2. As soon as almost all of the sugar has turned to caramel turn off the heat
  3. Hold the mould with your oven-mitt-covered hand, or some other protection that will not limit your dexterity yet protect your hand form the hot scalding sugar. With the other hand, pour a little caramel in the bottom and then swirl it around covering the mould internally and on the sides as much as you can
To make the custard
  1. Infuse the milk with the vanilla extract to almost boiling and then remove from the heat and allow to cool. You can do this stage using a large glass measuring jug in the microwave or medium-sized saucepan on the stove-top
  2. In another large measuring jug, whisk the eggs & extra yolk with the sugar
  3. Pour the cooled milk into the egg mixture. Combine well - the resulting consistency will be very liquid
  4. Pour the milk & egg mixture into the caramelized moulds leaving 1 cm/½" space from the top
  5. Cover the moulds tightly with tin foil
  6. Prepare the pressure cooker by adding a couple of cups of water and the cooking rack
  7. Fill the pressure cooker with as many of the filled moulds as possible that will stay level (my cooker only fit 2 of the Le Creuset heart-shaped ramekins at a time). Close and lock the pressure cooker top, turn the heat to high and when it reaches pressure, turn the flame down to minimum
  8. Count 5-8 minutes cooking time (time may vary depending on the size and thickness of the container(s) used)
  9. When time is up, turn off the heat and don't do anything wait for the pressure to come down naturally. If after 10 minutes all of the pressure hasn't released, relieve the rest of the pressure with the pressure valve. For electric pressure cookers, disengage the 'Keep Warm' setting when cooking time is up and turn off or unplug the pressure cooker
  10. When time is up, open the top and check for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the middle of one of the crèmes. If it comes out dirty, simply place the pressure cooker cover back on and wait another 5 minutes - the residual heat from the pressure cooker will keep cooking them. If the crème caramels are still liquid, cook under pressure and additional 5 minutes
  11. Let the crème caramels cool outside the pan for about an hour before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. If you need to do another batch, remember to add more water in your pressure cooker!
  12. To serve, simply turn each mould upside-down onto separate dessert dishes. If a crème caramel doesn't release on its own, insert a flat knife and run it carefully along the sides. Then, on one side pull the knife a little towards the centre to break the suction
  13. Replace the dessert plate on top of the mould and flip it over quickly
Adapted from Hip Pressure Cooking
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Cakes & Bakes: Manchester Tart

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Home-made Manchester tart | H is for Home

I’ve been meaning to try to make a Manchester tart for ages. It’s a fairly local dish although not all that common to find… and consists a host of things we both love! Bananas, dessicated coconut, jam and custard. A Northern dish made using exotic ingredients like bananas and coconut!

I found and slightly adapted a Marcus Wareing recipe I found online. There are lots of stages – it’s not quick to whip up, but it’s a scrumptious, filling dessert – I’ll be making it again soon!

Manchester Tart

Serving Size: 6-9 slices

Manchester Tart


  • Base
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Filling
  • 200g raspberry jam ( I used some of the raspberry jelly I made in the summer )
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp rum
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 4 medium bananas, sliced
  • Custard
  • 560ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp custard powder
  • Topping
  • 50g dessicated coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas mark 4
  2. Lightly grease or line the base of an 18cm/7inch square cake tin with baking paper
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then fold in the flour mixed with the baking powder
  4. Flatten the mixture into the tin using a small angled palette knife and bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes
  6. Spread the dessicated coconut evenly on a shallow baking tray and toast in the oven for no more than 5 minutes. Shaking once or twice to get an even colour
  7. For the filling, spread the cooled base with the jam/jelly
  8. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the sugar to the pan and melt to form a caramel, swirling all the time
  9. Carefully add the rum (I had an unplanned flambé experience!), then whisk in the butter
  10. Add the banana slices and toss gently or turn with tongs until coated & caramelised
  11. Layer on top of the raspberry jam/jelly, then place in the fridge for 30 minutes
  12. For the custard, put the milk in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat
  13. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, custard powder and an extra splash of milk together until smooth
  14. Pour a little of the hot milk on to the mixture, whisk well, then add it back to the hot milk
  15. Cook the custard over a low heat, stirring constantly with the whisk, until the mixture is very thick
  16. Pour the custard on to the banana caramel mixture then sprinkle the toasted coconut on top
  17. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes until the tart is set
  18. Slice & serve