A thick, rich vanilla custard sprinkled with nutty pistachio streusel blankets a hidden layer of tart, lightly poached rhubarb at the bottom of each of these delicious, gluten-free desserts, created by blogger Aran Goyoaga. Be sure to watch the delicate custards carefully as they bake so you don’t overcook them.
Rhubarb Custard with Pistachio Crumble
For the poached rhubarb:
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar
4 stalks rhubarb (1 lb./500 g total weight), cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm.) pieces
For the pistachio crumble:
1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) unsalted pistachios
4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g.) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g.) sugar
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) brown rice flour
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) almond flour
4 1/2 tsp. tapioca flour
Pinch of kosher salt
For the custard:
1 vanilla bean
2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml.) heavy cream
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) whole milk
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
6 large eggs
1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) cornstarch
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325°F (160°C). Have ready 8-10 custard cups or ramekins, each at least 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) Arrange the cups in a baking dish.
To poach the rhubarb, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) water and heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the rhubarb, reduce the heat so that the sugar syrup is barely simmering, and gently cook the rhubarb until it is soft but still keeps its shape, about 3 minutes.
Drain the rhubarb, being careful not to mush it too much.
To make the crumble, finely chop the pistachios in a food processor. Add the butter, sugar, brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca flour and salt, and pulse a few times just until a crumble sandlike dough forms. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the custard, split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the back of a paring knife. In a saucepan, combine the vanilla pod and seeds, the cream, the milk, half of the sugar, and the orange zest.
Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir. Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla pod. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cornstarch, and remaining sugar.
Pour a little of the hot cream into the egg mixture, a little at a time, and whisk until combined. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher.
Divide the rhubarb between the custard cups. Pour the custard over the rhubarb. Sprinkle the reserved crumble over the top of each custard, dividing it evenly. Carefully pour very hot water into the baking dish to reach about halfway up the sides of the cups.
Bake until the custards are set and the crumble is golden, 30-35 minutes. Remove from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely before serving. Serves 8-10.