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Rhubarb-strawberry milk bun pudding

This pudding reminds us of Devonshire tea: baked fruit takes on a jam-like quality while vanilla custard and small milk buns round things out.

By Emma Knowles
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking plus proving
  • Serves 6 - 8
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Little balls of soft milk bun dough are baked on a bed of tangy rhubarb and strawberries, soaking up the bubbling juices while the fruit becomes luscious and jammy. A warm vanilla custard adds just the right note of creaminess.


  • 900 gm rhubarb, cut into rough 1.5cm pieces
  • 250 gm strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 80 gm brown sugar
  • 80 gm caster sugar
  • 1½ tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean extract
  • Juice of ½ orange and ½ lemon
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
Milk bun dough
  • 500 gm plain flour (3⅓ cups)
  • 100 gm caster sugar
  • 21 gm dried yeast (3 sachets)
  • 250 ml lukewarm pouring cream, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 125 gm softened butter, plus extra for greasing
Vanilla custard
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 60 gm caster sugar
  • 350 ml pouring cream
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped


  • 1
    For milk bun dough, pulse flour, sugar, yeast and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook to combine. Mix in cream and egg, then add butter a little at a time, kneading until incorporated between additions. Knead until smooth and silky (3-4 minutes), then place in a buttered bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (1½-2 hours).
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 180C and butter a 4-litre round baking dish (about 26cm diameter) and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, flour, vanilla and juices in a bowl, toss to combine, then spread evenly in prepared baking dish.
  • 3
    Knock back bun dough and pinch off 20 even-sized pieces, roll each into a smooth ball and arrange closely in concentric circles over fruit mixture. Cover and stand in a warm place until buns rise by about a quarter (1-1¼ hours). Brush tops with extra cream and bake until buns are golden brown and fruit mixture is bubbling (1-1¼ hours). Stand for 5 minutes.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for vanilla custard, whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale (2-3 minutes). Bring cream, milk, and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer in a saucepan, then, whisking continuously, add to yolk mixture. Return to pan and whisk continuously over medium-high heat until thick and just simmering (2-3 minutes). Strain into a jug or bowl (discard vanilla bean).
  • 5
    Dust pudding with icing sugar and serve hot with warm vanilla custard.
  • undefined: Emma Knowles