Cornish pasties are a traditional English dish. The original ingredients for the filling were simply steak, potato and turnip. Carrot is often added these days.
… was the standard food carried to work by 19th century tin miners in Cornwell, England. …. The pasty’s traditional long shape was designed to fit in a workman’s deep pocket.
– Margaret Fulton, Encyclopedia of food and cookery
Cornish pasty is one of those things I always struggle to pronounce. I don’t know why, but it was even worse when I was living in the UK and would have one of these every week for a quick lunch.
It’s what a crowd of extras will say when they are trying to create a general hubbub on stage. Why rhubarb you might ask? I’ve no idea, but at least it’s easy to remember, and, as it is in season, a perfect complement to this easy vanilla infused custard trifle.
100ml orange juice
4 tablespoons of sugar + 100g sugar
400ml whole milk
4 large egg yolks
plain sponge cake
Wash, trim and cut into 3cm lengths about 400g rhubarb. Put in a pan with the orange juice and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 5 minutes or until the stalks are tender but still hold their shape. Taste the rhubarb – it should be tart, as the sponge and trifle will sweeten the trifle. But if it is unpalatably sour, add a little more sugar. Strain off about 200ml of the juice. Transfer the remaining rhubarb to a non-metallic dish. Chill both the juice and rhubarb in the fridge.
Make custard. Put the whole milk in a pan with a split vanilla pod and scald until almost boiling. Beat the egg yolks with 100g sugar and whisk in the hot cream. Return the custard to the pan over a very low heat and stir constantly until it thickens, making a glossy coat on the back of the spoon. Remove the vanilla pod, and scrap off the tiny black specks into the mixture. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve into a bowl and chill. When cold it should be spoonably thick rather than pourable.
Take (or make) a simple plain sponge cake. Break it into chunks and press lightly into 4 large wine glasses or dessert dishes. Pour in enough of the chilled rhubarb juice to soak the sponge thoroughly. Then top with a layer of the stewed rhubarb. Now pile in a generous layer of the chilled, thickened custard. Enjoy.
VARIATION – You could, of course, cheat and buy store-bought custard, but just this once try making it from scratch and you may never turn back. Use only fresh free-range eggs.