- PREP: 45 MINS
- COOK: Rhubarb (25-30 mins), Souffle (12-14 mins)
- DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM
- SERVES: 4
Rhubarb is now in full season, and will be for some time to come. These delicious pink souffles will be the star of the show at your next Sunday Dinner or dinner party. They are bound to impress! This souffle recipe is particularly useful for home-cooking as the souffle mix can be made up an hour or so ahead of when you need them, and then cooked just before serving.
The preparation of the compote, souffle base and ramekins, can all be done a day or two in advance of when you plan to serve your souffles.
1. Rhubarb Compote
Irish Rhubarb – what I have used here is forced – the colour is beautiful, and the stems are thin and not overly coarse. I bought 670g and had 570g usable rhubarb once I had removed the leaves and it was all trimmed up.
- 570g Rhubarb roughly chopped
- 180g Caster Sugar
- 3 Slices of Orange
- 5 or 6 Blueberries
Mix all of the ingredients together in a roasting tray, and leave aside for 15 – 20 minutes while the oven heats up. This will allow the sugar to start working on the rhubarb and draw some of the juices out. Cover it with tinfoil, reflective side facing down into the roasting tray, and seal the outside tightly to keep all of the steam inside as it cooks. Cook the rhubarb at 155 C until it is soft all the way through, but still holding its’ shape. This will take approx 25-30 mins. Allow to cool, and remove the orange slices.
Reserve a little of your compote- this will be placed int the bottom of your souffle ramekins before the rest of the mix is added on top. Drain the compote, and blend the rhubarb until completely smooth. I chose to remove the blueberries – but if you would like a deeper colour for your souffles leave 2 or 3 of the blueberries in when you make your puree.
The juice can be used to make a drink – with some gin, and tonic it is delicious! It should keep for about a week in the fridge.
2. Souffle Base
- 300g Rhubarb Puree
- 9g Cornflour
For 4 – 5 Souffles depending on the size of your ramekins.
Scale the cornflour into a bowl, and then add a small amount of the puree to it cold. Whisk until smooth and there are no lumps.
Put the remainder of the puree in a sauce pan and put on medium/ hot heat, taking care to whisk all of the time, so that the puree doesn’t catch at the bottom of the pan. When warm add the cornflour/puree mix. Continue to whisk, and bring it to a boil. It needs to boil for 1 minute, or until the tattiness of the cornflour is gone and the mix feels completely smooth on your palette. When the mix is ready; put it into a bowl and clingfilm over the surface of the mix. This will prevent a skin from forming, and will not allow build up of steam as it is in full contact with the surface. Allow to cool fully in the fridge before using.
3. Preparing your ramekins
You will need softened butter for this – very soft, but not melted. Brush the ramekins all over inside, coating every inch of surface, making sure to have your brush strokes facing up towards the top of the ramekin. You may need to do this twice, depending on how warm or cold you butter is. Dust the inside of each ramekin completely with caster sugar, and then shake out any excess. Keep these refrigerated if you are not using them immediately.
4. Making the Souffles
- 200g Souffle Base
- 120g Egg Whites
- 40g Caster Sugar
Preheat the oven to 160C Fan. Place some compote into the base of each ramekin.
Whip your egg whites to medium peak adding the sugar gradually. Place your base in a bowl and whisk vigorously until smooth. When the meringue is ready add ¼ to the base and mix well to ensure it is completely smooth and uniform. You do not need to be overly careful at this stage, so long as you stop mixing once it is smooth. The purpose of this stage is to lighten the base so that the whites and the base will combine together without overworking the mix in the next stage.
Next add the remaining ¾ of egg whites and, using a spatula, carefully fold the two together. As soon as the mix is uniform, and still full of air and volume, stop mixing. Fill your piping bag with the mix. Cut a wide opening in the top of the piping bag and pipe from right down at the bottom of the ramekin, moving your piping bag upwards, so that there are no air gaps in the ramekin. Pipe to just above the level of the rim of the ramekin. Tap each ramekin, very gently, on the counter top, to ensure there is not trapped air bubbles.
Using a palette knife, working from the centre out to the sides, scrape the top of the souffles flat. Use your thumb to run around the outside of the ramekin as in the picture. Only work near the top of the ramekin, or you will remove the butter further down and the souffle may stick when you go to bake it.
The souffles can be baked immediately or left to rest for up to a maximum of half an hour on the side before baking. If you wish to prepare the souffles further in advance they will rest well in the fridge for up to an hour, but will need to sit out for 10 minutes or so before going into the oven. Your souffles will require approx 12 – 14 minutes to bake.
My favourite thing to serve with this souffle is vanilla ice cream.