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Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

There are a few things here that may appear tricky, but the finished product is definitely worth the effort.

RECIPE: Rhubarb Custard Pudding
Serves 6

1 sheet sweet crust pastry
5 tbsp rhubarb or raspberry jam
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp caster sugar
200g caster sugar
200ml water
4 egg whites
pinch of cream tartar

Heat oven to 180C. Prepare a 13 x 9-inch pastry tin. Line pastry tin with the pastry and trim to size. Cover with baking paper. Fill with uncooked rice. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden. Remove weights or rice and paper. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until base is light golden. Set aside to cool. Brush pastry case with jam.

Into a small bowl scrape the seeds from the centre of each vanilla bean half. Discard beans. Place milk, eggs, egg yolk and first lot of sugar with vanilla seeds. Whisk until combined. Pour mixture into the pastry case. Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 160C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until custard is just set. Remove pan from the oven. Allow to cool. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Combine second lot of sugar and water in a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and brush down sides of pan with a clean, wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals. Cook until syrup reaches 115C on a thermometer. Start whisking egg whites with cream of tartar in a clean, grease-free bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

Meanwhile, bring sugar syrup to 121C. Increase the speed to high and, with motor running, gradually pour syrup into meringue. Beat at medium speed until cooled to room temperature and meringue is thick and glossy. Pile on top of the custard. Gently toast the meringue with a small torch.