Rhubarb and Custard is a sweet, tart, creamy and comforting dessert. Fresh rhubarb is roasted with sugar to get sweet and release its delicious juice then topped with warm, thick English custard.

English custard being poured over baked rhubarb

Rhubarb took England by storm in the 1800’s. It is somewhat of an acquired taste, but mostly used in sweet applications because of its tart nature, like pies, tarts, jams, jellies and puddings.

The plant had been around a while, but it was the crowning of Queen Victoria that thrust it into the limelight.

The dessert from overhead with a jug of custard

If you’re not familiar with rhubarb, it is tempting to try the rhubarb raw (because it looks like celery) this I do not recommend as I know first hand trying it as a child and I’ve never done it since.

Being a member of the buckwheat family, interestingly the leaves are said to be poisonous. Makes you wonder how it ever became a food, but prepared with sugar and spices it is delicious.

What is Rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a seasonal plant and it is difficult to obtain in cooler climates but do very well when grown in greenhouses which is how we grew them in England usually in mid- to late spring in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

Rhubarb and custard is not only classic English dessert, but there was also a classic British cartoon short in the 1970’s named Roobarb and Custard. Funny rivalry between Roobarb the green dog and Custard the pink cat who lived next door, it was one of my favorites.


The English custard part of this dessert is my favorite. It was, and still is the ultimate comfort food that can be served with literally any dessert. Depending on the recipe, I make the custard in 2 consistencies. Runny, like in this rhubarb and custard, or thicker for tarts.

I love to serve runny custard over frozen berries for a lovely summer treat. You can find the recipe here > Hot English Custard Over Frozen Berries.

Pouring hot custard over mixed berries in a glass bowl

I’ve used this custard in a few of my desserts like sticky toffee pudding, berry custard tart and it is delicious on it’s own, warm for the cold months or serve cold in the warmer months.

Yield: 4

Rhubarb and Custard

Baked rhubarb on a white plate with English custard

Fresh rhubarb baked with sugar and nutmeg and topped with warm, English custard

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 pound rhubarb (453 grams) rinsed, dried and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
  • Grated nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups (592 ml) whole milk
  • 2/3 cup (132 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (34 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
  2. Add the rhubarb to a shallow baking dish and toss with the sugar and nutmeg to coat. Arrange in a single layer.Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. While the rhubarb is cooking, in a medium saucepan, stir together the milk and sugar over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  4. While the milk is coming to a simmer, add the eggs to a mixing bowl and whisk in the cornstarch until smooth. Slowly whisk 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture until smooth. This will temper the eggs and stop them from curdling or cooking.
  5. Pour the egg and milk mix back into the pan with the milk and whisk over low heat until thickened.
  6. Once the custard has thickened, remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
  7. Divide the rhubarb between 4 shallow bowls. Pour over the custard and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

4 ounces

Amount Per Serving Calories 392Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 154mgSodium 93mgCarbohydrates 71gFiber 2gSugar 59gProtein 9g

This rhubarb and custard recipe first appeared on Food Fanatic where I am a contributor.

Sticky Toffee Pudding