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Rhubarb and apple pie with warm cinnamon custard

Rhubarb. Apple. Custard. It's an unbeatable combination.

By Emma Knowles
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 35 mins cooking plus resting, cooling, infusing, standing
  • Serves 10
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Rhubarb and apple pie with warm cinnamon custard
This recipe has all the trappings of a good cold-weather pie: rhubarb, apple, a custard spiked with cinnamon and dessert wine. It may take time but once your creation exits the oven, you'll know it was worth the effort.


  • 100 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1.2 kg Granny Smith apples, cored, thickly sliced (about 6)
  • 1 kg rhubarb, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 520 gm raw caster sugar
  • 4 cinnamon quills
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • Juice and finely grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 60 gm fresh fine white breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
  • 20 gm demerara sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Vanilla pastry
  • 450 gm plain flour (3 cups)
  • 120 gm pure icing sugar, sieved (¾ cup)
  • 225 gm cold butter, coarsely chopped
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
Cinnamon custard
  • 450 ml pouring cream
  • 50 ml fortified dessert wine
  • 3 cinnamon quills, coarsely crumbled
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 85 gm raw caster sugar


  • 1
    For vanilla pastry, process flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor to combine, add butter and vanilla seeds and pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add egg and yolk, pulse until mixture just comes together, turn onto a lightly floured surface and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (2 hours).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add apple and stir occasionally until edges begin to soften (3-4 minutes). Add rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean and vanilla seeds and stir occasionally until beginning to soften (6-8 minutes). Stir in citrus juices and rinds and strain through a sieve (reserve liquid separately; discard vanilla bean and cinnamon quills). Spread on a tray, cool to room temperature, stir in breadcrumbs, set aside.
  • 3
    Simmer reserved rhubarb liquid in a small saucepan until reduced to a thin syrup (10-15 minutes), set aside.
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 180C. Roll two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick, line a 23cm-diameter, 4cm-deep pie tin, trim edges, refrigerate to rest (30 minutes).
  • 5
    Meanwhile, roll out remaining pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm-thick round, cut a 1.5cm round from centre (discard), place on a tray and refrigerate until required.
  • 6
    Spoon rhubarb mixture into tart case, piling high in the centre, brush edges of pastry with eggwash and place pastry round on top, pressing edges with a fork to seal. Brush top with eggwash, scatter with combined demerara sugar and cinnamon, bake until dark golden (45 minutes-1 hour; cover edges with foil if necessary to prevent burning) and stand in tin to rest (20 minutes).
  • 7
    Meanwhile, for cinnamon custard, bring cream, wine and cinnamon to the simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, remove from heat and stand to infuse (5 minutes). Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale, add cream mixture, whisk to combine. Return to pan, stir over medium heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly (4-5 minutes). Strain and serve warm with warm rhubarb and apple pie and rhubarb syrup.