Yorkshire forced rhubarb season is here! This amazing seasonal product has legally protected PDO status and can only be grown in the 9 square miles that make up the ‘Yorkshire Triangle’ between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell. Every February Wakefield hosts its annual rhubarb festival celebrating this amazing seasonal speciality. Grown in special ‘forcing sheds’ a unique process that has remained unchanged for over 200 years. Given the recent floods in Spain it makes sense to give a closer look to our home grown produce, no self-respecting restaurant menu in January should be without this great British seasonal treat!
As for soufflés , much is made of their supposed difficulty and many routes to spectacular failure, this nonsense, they are super easy and a pretty cool (if a little retro) pudding to serve to friends. This recipe is a classic twist on the ol’ ‘rhubarb crumble & custard’ combo. I hope you like it!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
400g Forced rhubarb, diced
180g caster sugar
1 0range (juice & grated zest)
1 tsp Vanilla essence
5 egg whites
2 tsp corn flour
For the crumble
50g Caster sugar
25g chopped almonds
4 gingernut biscuits
To make the crumble mix, place the butter, nuts & oats in a saucepan and cook over a moderate heat until lightly browned, allow to cool before pulsing lightly in a food processor with the sugar & biscuits.
Butter four ramekins taking care to evenly cover the sides so the souffles don’t stick. Fill one ramekin with crumble mix then pour it from one ramekin to the next whilst turning to evenly coat the inside of each ramekin.
To make the soufflé base, place the rhubarb, half the sugar, orange & vanilla in a sauce pan with just enough water to cover, simmer for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove half the stewed rhubarb and reserve this for later.
Whisk the cornflour into the remaining stewed rhubarb/syrup and simmer until thickened. Allow to chill before blending to a smooth puree.
To make the soufflés
Preheat the oven to 180C
Use an electric whisk to whisk the egg whites to ‘soft peak’ stage. Whisk in the remaining sugar a tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated.
Place the soufflé base into a large mixing bowl and fold in a third of the whisked egg whites. Add the remaining whisked whites and again, carefully fold them in- you don’t actually need to be particularly gentle- it’s more important the base is evenly mixed through.
Divide the mix between the 4 ramekins and lightly tap each one on a work surface to get rid of any air pockets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and serve immediately, sprinkled with a little of the remaining crumble mix, some of the reserved stewed rhubarb and plenty of fresh custard!