Custard with Rhubarb Sauce ♥

There's not a year that doesn't pass without serving this easy custard and rhubarb at least once. It's a favorite to take along to dinner with friends -- it's an old-fashioned treat but everyone loves it, especially rhubarb lovers! The custard is made on the stovetop and with whole milk (half & half and cream are too rich) so it's even, as desserts go, a healthy dessert recipe.

~recipe & photo updated and republished 2011~
~more recently updated recipes~

2007: We remember that rhubarb's a vegetable, right? Thank goodness -- otherwise, what lengths might a certain Veggie Evangelist be forced to take in order to eat vegetables for dessert?

All by itself, rhubarb sauce is one of the simplest of all luscious desserts. Pair it with a creamy stovetop custard, and, oh my, heaven in a bowl. Yet they're both so simple to make. With time to spare for kitchen busy-ness, I made both the custard and the sauce in 35 minutes -- and it would have taken maybe 25 if I'd used two pots simultaneously. Look for still more rhubarb for this week my Dad delivers a big load of rhubarb stalks and better still, rhubarb plants!

2011: Cold creamy custard, with a little cold and slightly sweet-slightly sour rhubarb stirred in. Heaven in a bowl, indeed.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes for the custard, 15 for the sauce
Time to table: 35 minutes if you want to serve warm but I recommend chilling the custard
Serves 4

2 cups whole milk (you can also use half & half and cream but honestly, I find them too rich)
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
(Freshly grated nutmeg, if you're only doing the custard)

In a medium pot, scald the milk on MEDIUM heat (or a bit lower), stirring often so the bottom doesn't burn. (Scald? Doesn't that mean to burn? Not in this context, no. It means to cook the milk until just before the boiling point. Watch for bubbles around the edges, that's the sign that the milk is scalded.) Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar til smooth. A quarter cup at a time, whisk the hot liquid into the eggs, stirring all the while. (I've done this so often I now just pour it in slowly, whisking the whole while. This also takes the milk off the heat, which is a good idea, too.) Return the mixture to the pot and cook on MEDIUM (or a bit lower) until the mixture thickens, stirring the entire time. (It will take milk longer to thicken than half & half or cream. You can tell when custard is "done" when you can scrape a finger along a metal spoon coated with the mixture and the line stays clean.) Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla. Transfer to individual ramekins or a serving bowl and chill til ready to serve.

This makes two cups. If you need more, make multiple recipes but don't double -- there's something about the relative depth in the pot that's important, as I recall.

4 cups fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into half-inch pieces
Splash water
1/3 cup sugar (or more to taste)

Add the rhubarb and a splash of water to a medium pot, stir in sugar and cook on MEDIUM til rhubarb is soft but still shows the chunks. That's all it takes!!

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~ Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothies ~
~ Perfect Rhubarb Pie ~
~ Rhubarb Bakewell Tart ~
~ more rhubarb recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ How to Make Rhubarb Jam & Jally ~
~ Roasted Rhubarb ~
~ Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake ~
~ more rhubarb recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

A Veggie Venture is home of 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2007

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. That rosy pink rhubarb looks fantastic, Alanna. I'm into strawberries right now, having eaten waaaaay too much rhubarb during the previous month, but I'll think about this dessert ;)

  2. Good news, Pille ~ Custard is just as good with fresh strawberries, or slightly mashed and slightly sweetened strawberries, or a slightly sweet and slightly lemon strawberry sauce. Wild strawberries, perchance? : - )

  3. Oh I love custard and really will take any excuse to have this. Rhubarb is a veggie (really?) that i still need to get used to. There are a few things I like and others well - but I am really wanting to try this right now!

  4. Wow it has more calories than I would guess, but it looks healthier than say, ice cream.

  5. Most excellent but then I just think rhubarb is excellent. That it's a veggie is just the icing on the cake.
    Ahem, could rhubarb be used to ice a cake? Pretty strange thought.

  6. AnonymousJune 26, 2007

    My husband is a huge fan of rhubarb dessrts. I've been looking to expand my repetoire of easy weeknight desserts, too, so this really fits the bill. Thanks, Alanna!

  7. Meeta ~ Hmm. Is rhubarb a vegetable? Well, um, yes. But now I'm wondering if it's a vegetable only in U.S. trade law terms, like a 1920s (I think it was) obscure trade decision turned tomatoes into a vegetable to avoid tariffs. But you know what? I love rhubarb so much and it's so fun to be 'able' to use it on my vegetable-only site, I'm sticking with it, if that's okay with you!

    Kelly ~ Yes, it adds up, for sure, even with minimal amounts of sugar, whole milk vs cream, etc. But it's definitely worth an indulgence, that I promise.

    Tanna ~ Hmm, I'm not sure I would ice a cake with rhubarb but I would absolutely put it between layers, for example, or as a topping, too. I've wanted to try rhubarb trifle for some time ...

    Carolyn ~ Yay!

    All ~ Thanks for stopping by to comment, your encouragement means the world! ~ AK

  8. Thanks for posting the link to this, Alanna. It's definitely on my "must-make" list now. Oh, how I am loving rhubarb!


  9. Just got some rhubarb from the farmer's market. Can't wait to try this -- looks divine.

  10. Stephanie ~ Too funny, it's what I'm serving for a supper with friends tonight!! It IS gorgeous, I'm having a hard time keeping my spoon out of the custard.

  11. Mmm rhubarb seems to be everywhere lately. I recently saw a recipe for rhubard clafoutis, which is kind of similar to this... it's custardy anyway. This looks delicious, though, especially with that homemade custard (store-bought powder is never as good, is it?)

  12. Yum, your recipe sounds really good! Rhubarb has become one of my favorites!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna