Rhubarb with Cream Caramel

Using sous vide to cook rhubarb leaves the shape of the stem intact and creates a wonderful pink syrup from the juices mixing in the vacuum bag with the sugar. Cream caramels are one of the great classic desserts, lightly set custard infused with the slight bitterness of golden caramel sauce. This is the easiest recipe, cooking custard in the sous vide water bath will ensure that your custard will set perfectly every time.

Serves 4

For the rhubarb
6                              Rhubarb stems
2 Dessert spoons             Castor sugar
1                              Strip dried orange zest

Cut the rhubarb into twelve 10 cm lengths. Place one dessert spoon of sugar and zest in a vacuum bag, fold the top of the bag over and shake the bag gently to evenly disperse the sugar. Vacuum seal the bag on the highest setting. Set your Sous Vide Professional circulator to 80⁰C to preheat. When the water is at temperature add the vacuum bag of rhubarb for twenty minutes.

For the caramel
¼ cup castor sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon brandy or rum

In a small pot, a copper one if you are lucky enough to have one, heat the sugar and water over a medium heat stirring gently until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and allow the sugar cook to and rich brown caramel. Remove the pot from the heat the minute you have a nice colour and carefully add the brandy, it will splutter a bit. If the caramel is still getting darker you can dip the bottom of your pot in cold water for a second to take the heat out of it. Pour the caramel evenly in to 4 stainless steel 120 ml dessert moulds and move each mould so the caramel coats the bottom completely.

For the custard
150 ml milk
150 ml cream
3 eggs
60 mg sugar

Measure the milk and cream together in to a microwave safe jug and micro wave for one minute to take the chill off. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl then whisk in the milk and cream. Strain the mix through a fine sieve. Then divide the mix evenly between the caramel lined moulds. Cover each mould with a piece of cling film and hold it in place with a rubber band.

Sit the mould on a rack in a preheated sous vide water bath at 80⁰ so that the water is ¾ of the way up the moulds. You may need to be a little creative to achieve this. I have a metal cake ring that I sit a cake cooling rack on in the bottom of the water bath to elevate the moulds. Cook the custards for 40 minutes, then remove them to the bench for 10 minute and discard the cling film. Allow to set in the fridge in a covered container. I make them a day ahead so the caramel turns to liquid giving more sauce.

To serve your sous vide crème caramels slide a small thin knife between the custard and the mould. Carefully slide the knife around the custard to free it. Gently invert the mould on to a serving plate and allow the custard slide out, lift the mould off slowly to allow the caramel sauce to run out over the custard. Garnish with pieces of sous vide cooked rhubarb and fresh mint.

Variation: You can scrap vanilla seeds in to the milk before adding it to the eggs or warm the milk and cream with a cinnamon stick on the stove and let infuse for thirty minutes before adding to the eggs.

You will need