Baked rhubarb and ginger sponge with star anise custard
For the rhubarb:
* 4 stalks rhubarb, chopped into even-sized pieces
* 115g demerara sugar
* Juice of 2 oranges
* Grated zest of 1 oranges
* 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
* 2 star anise
For the ginger sponge:
* 175g caster sugar
* 150g unsalted butter
* 1 tsp grated lemon zest
* 40 g ground almonds
* 75g self-raising flour
* 2 tsp ground ginger
* 5 free range large egg whites
For the star anise custard:
* 100ml milk
* 150ml double cream
* 4 star anise
* 5 medium egg yolks
* 1 tbsp caster sugar
* 1 1/2 tsp cornflour
1. First cook the rhubarb. Place the rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and zest, cinnamon, ginger and star anise in a non-reactive saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Bring to the simmer and cook for around 10 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and the liquid becomes syrupy. Leave to cool.
3. Remove the star anise and divide the rhubarb among 4 ramekins or small pudding basins.
4. Preheat the oven to 180Â°C/gas 4.
5. Make the sponge. Cream together the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl, then mix in the lemon zest.
6. Sift together the ground almonds, self-raising flour and ground ginger. Fold the sifted ingredients into the creamed butter.
7. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the whisked egg whites into the flour mixture.
8. Divide the sponge mixture among the 4 ramekins, smoothing off.
9. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. To test whether the sponge is cooked through or not insert a skewer and withdraw it. If it comes out clean the sponge is cooked through.
10. While the sponges are baking, make the star anise custard. Heat the milk, cream and star anise together in a saucepan and bring to the simmer.
11. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a large bowl.
12. Pour the hot cream mixture into the whisked yolk mixture, stirring thoroughly until well-blended.
13. Return the mixture to the saucepan and return to the heat, stirring continuously and allowing the mixture to simmer gently. Once the mixture begins to thicken whisk thoroughly. Turn off the heat and remove the star anise.