So many of the most pleasurable foods are the simplest with the fewest ingredients; bread, chips, mayonnaise, pickled onions even…and yet invariably we rely on shop bought ‘versions’ and rarely make our own. Rhubarb and custard is such a no-nonsense pairing there’s nowhere to hide; if you sidestep the homemade custard bit all that’s really left to do is bake rhubarb, and there’s hardly any satisfaction to be had from opening and closing an oven door.
This recipe is little more than a construction job, bar the whipped the cream. I’ve used amaretti biscuits in the base of the trifle because I particularly like the marriage of almond with rhubarb, and also almond with custard, which I suppose makes it more of a love triangle than a marriage. Flaked almonds, toasted and scattered on the top would complement both the flavours and the tradition.
The number of egg yolks used in a custard determines its thickness, and the cornflour is there to prevent curdling, although you can still bodge a ‘fool proof’ custard if you heat it too quickly and fail to stir it sufficiently. Patience is key.