© David Loftus
rhubarb and custard kinda soufflé
This is like a cross between a soufflé and a light pudding. A soufflé is an old-fashioned classic that I always try to avoid making these days, as I made so many of them when I was at college! Like a good omelette, a soufflé is the test of a really good cook – if you don’t get your temperature, speed and stages right you can end up with something as flat as a pancake. But now I’ve come up with a recipe that’s so delicious, with such a beautiful flavour and texture, it doesn’t really matter if it sinks. My favourite bit is getting everyone to make a hole in the top of their hot soufflé and pour in some very cold custard. There’s nothing better.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and put in a baking tray to heat up. Put the rhubarb into a saucepan with the 100g of sugar. Put a lid on the pan and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft. Put to one side and leave to cool completely.
Get yourself six ramekin dishes and rub their insides with the butter. Put the gingersnap biscuits into a sandwich bag, tie a knot in the top and smash the biscuits with a rolling pin or the bottom of a pan to make quite fine crumbs. Dust the insides of the buttered ramekins with the smashed biscuits, then shake out any excess crumbs and keep them for later. (You can put the dishes into the fridge at this point until you’re ready to put your soufflés together.)
Blob a tablespoon of the cooled stewed rhubarb into each ramekin dish. Mix the rest of the rhubarb with the custard, the egg yolk and the flour. In a large, clean bowl, using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until you have soft peaks. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and whisk on a high speed until the whites are very stiff – this should take about 3 minutes.
Working gently, fold 2 spoonfuls of the stiff egg whites into the rhubarb mixture. Tip this into the bowl containing the remaining egg whites and fold together very carefully. Divide the mixture between the ramekins and level the tops. Wipe the rims of the dishes clean.
Remove the hot baking tray from the oven and place the ramekins on it. Put back into the preheated oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the soufflés are a lovely golden colour and have risen nicely. Serve immediately, sprinkled with your leftover gingersnap crumbs.
• from Jamie at Home
• 400g rhubarb, cut into 2.5cm chunks
• 100g caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
• 25g softened butter
• 6 gingersnap biscuits
• 150g readymade custard, plus extra for serving
• 1 large free-range or organic egg yolk, plus 4 egg whites
• 1 teaspoon plain flour