750g/1lb 10oz rhubarb, cut into 2in batons
150g/5½oz caster sugar, plus extra to taste
juice ½ lemon
½ tsp rose water
500ml/18fl oz double cream
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped out
6 large egg yolks
FOR THE ROSE PETALS
1 egg white
100g/4oz wild rose petals
140g/5oz caster sugar
Place the rhubarb, 50g of the sugar, lemon juice, rose water and 2 tbsp water in a pan. slowly cook over a gentle heat for 10-15 mins until the rhubarb has broken up. Continue cooking, stirring gently, until you have a thick compote. Add caster sugar to taste, but leave tasting a little sharp. Let cool. divide compote between 6 ramekins and chill in the fridge.
In a saucepan, heat the cream and vanilla pod and seeds. Remove from the heat just before boiling point, allow to infuse for 5 mins, then remove the pod.
In a large bowl, beat the yolks with the remaining sugar until pale and, while still whisking, pour over the hot cream, whisk well, then strain through a sieve into a clean jug. Let cool to room temperature. Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1.
Remove ramekins from the fridge and pour the custard over the compote. Put ramekins in a large deep baking tray and pour in enough water to come halfway up the ramekins. Put the tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 mins until you can see a slight wobble. Remove ramekins from the tray and chill for at least 2 hrs or preferably overnight.
For the rose petals, mix the egg white with 3 tbsp water. using a fine paintbrush, carefully brush the petals with the egg white, then lightly dust with the sugar. Place on baking trays lined with baking parchment and sit somewhere warm, an airing cupboard is ideal. Alternatively, once you have finished cooking, place trays in the warm oven and keep the door ajar. Leave the petals overnight or until they have completely dried out. They will keep well in an airtight jar for a few weeks. serve the custards scattered with the crystallised petals.