Champagne and rhubarb jelly

Serves 4

One of my Dad's friends used to always tell me about his mother making champagne rhubarb – but it turned out that he was talking about champagne and rhubarb jelly. When I finally remembered to make the dish I was so impressed that I put it on the menu. If you don't want to splash out on champagne, you can also use prosecco.

200g rhubarb
60g granulated or caster sugar

For the jelly

4 gelatine leaves (12g)
600ml champagne
75g caster sugar

Cut the rhubarb into small 1cm dice. Put the sugar in a saucepan with roughly enough water to cover the rhubarb, bring to the boil, add the rhubarb and simmer for about a minute or so until the rhubarb is just cooked; then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper and discard the liquid.

Meanwhile, immerse the gelatine leaves one at a time in a shallow bowl of cold water and leave for a minute or so until soft, then squeeze the gelatine leaves out. Heat 100ml of the champagne in a pan, remove from the heat and stir the gelatin leaves in until dissolved. Add the rest of the champagne and put the pan of jelly somewhere cool, but do not let it set.

Divide half the rhubarb among four individual jelly moulds, or cups or serving glasses or coupes, and pour in half of the cooled jelly. Chill for an hour or so to set, then top up with the rest of the rhubarb and unset jelly. (This ensures the rhubarb stays suspended and doesn't float to the top.) Return to the fridge to chill until set.

To serve, dip the moulds briefly into hot water; turn out on to serving plates. Serve with thick cream or ice cream.

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