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Rhubarb and Orange Flan

The use of orange juice in this flan offsets the natural tartness of the rhubarb, while the ginger adds a touch of spice-Rhubarb flourishes in the north of England and 81 per cent of the forced early crop is from there, though rhubarb is grown outdoors throughout other parts of the country.

ingredients

serves 4
75 g (3 oz) butter
150 g (6 oz) digestive biscuits, crushed
450 g (l lb) fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) lengths
finely grated rind and juice of 1 large orange
2 eggs, separated
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
30 ml (2 tbsp) cornflour
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground ginger
orange slices, to decorate

method

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then mix in the biscuit crumbs.

2. Press the mixture over the base and sides of a 20.5 cm (8 inch) fluted flan dish or tin. Chill in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.

3. Put the rhubarb in a saucepan with 45 ml (3 tbsp) water. Cover and simmer gently until the fruit is soft and pulpy. Stir occasionally to prevent the rhubarb sticking to the pan. Work the rhubarb to a puree in a blender or food processor.

4. Put the orange rind and juice into a heavy-based saucepan. Add the egg yolks, caster sugar, cornflour and ginger. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until thick. Stir into the rhubarb puree.

5. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold into the rhubarb custard, then spoon the mixture into the biscuit crust. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Decorate with orange slices just before serving.

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