Rhubarb and ginger twice-baked soufflés recipe

Ingredients

Compote:
400g rhubarb cut into 5cm pieces
½ teaspoon vanilla paste/powder
100g sugar
Grated zest of an orange
100ml sweet wine or orange juice

For the soufflés:
50g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
1 tsp ground ginger
250ml whole milk
100g sugar
3 medium eggs, separated
300ml double cream
Sugar to sprinkle

Based on and picture taken from a recipe in Delicious Magazine

We longingly await the first “fruit” of Spring don’t we? Botanically speaking, rhubarb is a vegetable – a stem which makes it so. Nonetheless, with a little sweetening, it can be made into a variety of delicious desserts, chutneys, jams and even cakes.

Rhubarb needs a little care in preparation. The leaves are poisonous to human beings – although not to slugs apparently! Oxalates are in many vegetables - particularly some of the leafy ones such as rhubarb, spinach, chard, but also legumes and many fruits, nuts and soya. Oxalates are naturally occurring molecules, which when eaten can bind with calcium and prevent its absorption. As with most things – it’s the amount, preparation and frequency that will make all the difference.

Method

  1. Put the compote ingredients in a pan, bring to a simmer, then cook gently for 10 minutes until the rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape.
  2. Strain, reserving the cooking liquid, then set aside.
  3. For the soufflés, heat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/gas 4. In a medium pan, melt the butter over a low-medium heat. Mix in the flour and ground ginger to make a thick paste and cook for a minute or so until it smells biscuitty. Add the milk bit by bit, whisking until a thick white sauce forms.
  4. Add 2 tbsp of the rhubarb cooking liquid and 50g of the sugar to the white sauce, then whisk in the egg yolks and set aside in a large clean mixing bowl. In another clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric hand mixer to form stiff peaks (they will hold their shape when the beaters are removed). Whisk in the remaining 50g sugar for a minute to form a stiff, glossy meringue.
  5. Gently but briskly, use a large metal spoon to fold the meringue into the white sauce, then spoon the mixture evenly among the prepared moulds. Bake for 25-28 minutes. The soufflés should be risen, slightly golden and wobble a little when you take them out of the oven.
  6. Mix 100ml of the remaining rhubarb cooking liquid with the double cream. When the soufflés are cooked, carefully turn them out and put one in the centre of each baking dish. Pour the rhubarb-flavoured cream over each soufflé, sprinkle with sugar and spoon the strained rhubarb compote around the soufflés. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling. The sauce will be runny straight out of the oven but will thicken slightly as it cools.