The set vanilla cream is a great recipe to have up your sleeve as it is is so versatile when combining with different flavours and textures. This dessert needs to be made in stages, giving time for the separate layers to set. The good thing is it can be made 3 days in advance or made over the course of 3 days prior to serving. For the sake of this recipe we always poach more rhubarb than we need to make sure we have plenty of juice to use. Any left over rhubarb once poached can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days, and is a great addition to yoghurt in the morning.


For the Set Vanilla Cream
240 ml double cream
80 ml milk
35g sugar
1 vanilla pods
1 gelatine leaf

For the poached rhubarb
6 rhubarb sticks diced into 1cm cubes
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
150g sugar

For the rhubarb jelly
90ml rhubarb poaching liquid
½ gelatine leaf


Pre-heat the oven to 180ᵒC. Poach the rhubarb by placing the prepared rhubarb cubes in a deep roasting tray and covering with the sugar, orange zest and juice. Cover the tray with tin foil and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Pass the juice through a sieve and reserve. Using half of the rhubarb, place the poached pieces into the bottom of two dishes. The remaining rhubarb can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To make the rhubarb jelly: First soak the half gelatine leaf in cold water. Heat 90ml of the rhubarb poaching liquid up to just simmering. Strain the gelatine leaf of any water and place in the hot liquid, stir for 1 minute to dissolve the gelatine then pass through a sieve. Separate the liquid between the two dishes and place in the fridge to set.

To make the set vanilla cream: Soak the gelatine leaf in cold water. Add the cream, milk and sugar together in a pan and scrape the vanilla seeds from the vanilla pod; place in the pan along with the empty vanilla pod. Bring the liquid to the boil and allow to simmer for 1 minute. Strain the gelatine leaf of any water and add to the cream, stirring to dissolve. Leave the cream to cool and infuse, stirring occasionally. When cool, pass through a sieve into a metal bowl and place over some ice-cold water. Stir the cream while it chills until it starts to thicken as the gelatine sets. When the consistency of a thick custard, divide the cream into the two dishes on top of the rhubarb jelly. Place back in to the fridge to set.

To finish: Serve with a scoop of rhubarb or strawberry sorbet on top and a crumbling of shortbread.