Rhubarb trifle


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Soho Cooking

Soho Cooking

By Alastair Little

Published 1999

  • About

This recipe is rather involved but can be made well in advance. To make it simpler you can substitute fresh raspberries for the rhubarb, and utilise one of the more acceptable ‘ready-made’ egg custards that are sold in supermarkets. The custard is one of the focal points of this dish so please do not use custard powder.


Rhubarb Compote

  • 500 g rhubarb
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 200 g caster sugar


  • 4 eggs
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 40 g butter

To Assemble

  • 50 g slivered almonds
  • a little icing sugar
  • 1 recipe Crème Anglaise
  • 200 ml double cream, whipped with caster or vanilla sugar to taste (Chantilly cream)
  • some good-quality sweet sherry to soak the sponge


Preparing the Rhubarb Compote

Top and tail the rhubarb and cut into 2-3 cm lengths. Place in a large ovenproof dish; add the vanilla and scatter with the sugar. Leave to macerate for a minimum of 3 hours, but preferably overnight.

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4, and loosely cover the rhubarb with greaseproof paper. Bake for 10 minutes then turn the oven down to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2, and continue cooking for a further 30 minutes. Different types of rhubarb will require different cooking times: the 30 minutes at 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 suggested here is probably a bare minimum. Check the fruit after this time has elapsed and continue if necessary. In addition, some types of rhubarb stay intact as they cook whilst others collapse; so don’t worry too much if you end up with a ‘fool-like’ result, rather than beautifully intact pieces.

Making the Sponge

Using the ingredients listed above, follow the recipe for chocolate genoise, omitting the cocoa powder.

Glazing the Almonds

Lightly dust a baking sheet with icing sugar and scatter the almonds on it in a single layer then dust again with the sugar. Bake in a medium oven until golden brown. For the best effect some of the nuts should be nearly burnt.

Assembling the Trifle

You should now have: a rhubarb compote, a genoise sponge, some glazed almonds, a custard and a bowl of whipped cream. Cut the sponge into 5 mm dice and sprinkle with the sweet sherry. In a deep bowl place half the sponge, then the rhubarb, then the other half of the sponge, then the custard, then the whipped cream and finally the glazed almonds. Refrigerate the whole assemblage for between 2 and 6 hours and serve in the bowl at the table.