Split the vanilla pod and use the back of a knife to scrape out the aromatic seeds. Add to a bowl with the rhubarb (which can be chopped on a bias to add a nice element to the final presentation), orange zest and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and let macerate for 30 minutes or so.
Place the ingredients in a baking dish and gently roast in the baking oven on your Aga for 20 minutes until the rhubarb is cooked and caramelised but still retains some firmness. Set aside to cool.
Next prepare the clafoutis batter. Sift the salt and flour into a mixing bowl and add the remaining sugar. Beat together the eggs then pour into the flour and whisk in, incorporating the flour gradually. Slowly add the whole milk whisking vigorously until you have a nice smooth batter.
Grease your chosen dish with some butter and spread the cooled rhubarb out evenly before pouring the batter into the dish. Place the dish back into the baking oven on your Aga (again, we’re looking for a temperature equivalent to 180c or gas mark 4) and bake for 20-30 minutes. The clafoutis should puff up and set with a slight wobble.
Let it cool and dust with some icing sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature with a little double cream.
Chefs tip: Never discard vanilla pods – after removing the seeds they can still be used to infuse milk or cream and even then never throw away. Wash and dry them and store in a jar of sugar. Over time this will impart that delicious flavour to the sugar – perfect for coffees and desserts!