Rhubarb And Custard Sweets
If you didn’t get to enjoy these delectable sweets when you were growing up, they might sound pretty odd to you – because we’re not talking about a bowlful of rhubarb and custard to tuck into after supper. That’s the sort of dessert which few people seem to eat now, but which was very popular ‘back in the day.’ Here, though, we’re talking the classic rhubarb and custard sweets, the sort you might have bought in a little paper wrapper and tucked into your pocket for the walk home from school. Sucking slowly on these things is a wonderful memory for anyone who got to experience them.
Rhubarb custard sweets are a boiled sweet, and they may seem like an odd idea, but they go back a long way. They seem to be one of the more divisive sugary treats, perhaps another Marmite of the confectionery world, because a lot of people think they’re absolutely disgusting, and a lot of other people love them. Personally, we feel the satisfying sharp zing of the rhubarb blends beautifully with the smooth, creamy custard, especially when suppliers add an extra sugary coating for just a bit more succulence. That said, we understand why these aren’t everyone’s cup of tea (though having them with a cup of tea – mmm!).
In terms of looks, they’re a wonderful combination of red and yellow (rhubarb custard, naturally) and they’re an extremely popular retro sweet – perhaps even more popular than rhubarb and custard as a dessert. As boiled sweets go, these are real classics, and it’s no surprise they have survived this long.
They’re also gelatine free and gluten free, which makes them great for vegetarians, vegans, and people suffering from wheat intolerances or Coeliacs, though we do always recommend double-checking ingredients lists. In fact, the main ingredient is usually sugar, followed by some glucose syrup and a bit of citric acid. They’re coloured using beetroot – perhaps disappointing if you hoped it would be rhubarb, but that’s how it goes in the world of sweets. With so few other ingredients, they’re a perfect treat everyone can enjoy, and they have no artificial colours or flavours.
Do you remember when you first tried rhubarb custard sweets? What was your first impression? A lot of people produce them now, but it’s not clear where they originally came from, or even when they were invented. They’re definitely retro, but just how retro seems to have been lost in history. Whoever created them deserves a big pat on the back as far as we’re concerned, because they’re fantastically inventive and unusual, and honestly, sweet shops
would be poorer places without them. Love it or hate it, you have to admit that rhubarb custard is a pinnacle of creativity and a great way to savour the flavour of this once-popular dessert. We wish we had a way of putting all our favourite puddings in our pockets and sucking on them for hours instead of having to tuck in with a spoon at the dinner table, and finding they’re gone in only a few minutes of tastiness