Rhubarb sorbet, poached rhubarb and syrup-soaked ginger cake combine in this magnificent dessert recipe.
For the rhubarb sorbet, soak the gelatine leaf in cold water until softened. Place the rhubarb, sugar and glucose in a saucepan. Pour in the water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat until the water is simmering and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender.
Squeeze out any excess water from the gelatine leaf and stir it into the rhubarb mixture until dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Blend the mixture to a purée in a food processor, then pass it through a fine sieve and stir in the food colouring, if using. Place the mixture over a bowl of iced water to cool it. Once cooled, churn in an ice cream machine for 30 minutes, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then freeze until solid.
For the poached rhubarb, place the sugar, water and lemon juice in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod and stir them in. Bring the mixture to the boil.
Add the rhubarb and reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering. Cook gently for 2-3 minutes – the rhubarb should be softened, but still retain its shape. Strain the syrup into a bowl and set it aside. Set the strained rhubarb aside.
For the sponge, thoroughly grease eight individual pudding basins and line the base of each with a disc of non-stick baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and then fold in the flour and ground almonds. Sprinkle over the ground ginger and fold it in with the chopped stem ginger. Divide the mixture among the pudding basins, place them onto a baking tray and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and firm and a skewer inserted into the middle of each comes out clean.
As soon as the ginger cakes come out of the oven, pour over some of the rhubarb syrup and set aside for a few minutes. Remove the sorbet from the freezer to soften.
Meanwhile, for the vanilla yoghurt, mix the yoghurt with the vanilla seeds and lime juice, to taste, until well combined.
To serve, turn one ginger cake out onto each plate and spoon the poached rhubarb around it. Scoop out a portion of sorbet and place alongside. Dot or swirl some vanilla yoghurt onto the plate and serve immediately.
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The finalists are sent to cook at the celebrated Osteria Francescana restaurant in Italy.
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