Rhubarb fool is a classic British dessert that's an easy delight you need to try. Light, creamy, tart and flavorful, it shows rhubarb off at it's finest.
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I'm not sure why this easy dessert isn't better known, as it's so simple to make and with lovely flavors. For me, it brings back memories of childhood in the most delicious way.
What is rhubarb fool?
Rhubarb fool is a classic British dessert made with stewed rhubarb and whipped cream. Some versions use just cream, while others use some yogurt mixed in. Another take is a custard fool using creme Anglaise ('real' custard), though that's arguably a different dessert to some.
It's incredibly simple, and such a delicious treat as the soft, slightly tart fruit and smooth cream mingle together.
Can a fool be made with different fruits?
Absolutely! The version I remember best as a child was gooseberry fool. The tartness of gooseberries is ideal to offset the rich cream. I'm sure you could make it with many other fruits as well, though more tart ones like gooseberry, currants and rhubarb work best.
The contrast in rich cream and sweet-tart fruit is what makes this dish.
In most cases, you will want to gently cook the fruit first to bring out their flavors and, for tarter fruits, lightly sweeten them. But try to ensure they don't become a jam - you want pieces of fruit in there, as far as possible.
Tips for making a fool (the dessert, that is!)
First, you gently cook the rhubarb to add a little flavor and sweetness. You don't want to add much liquid as it will create its own liquid and you want the fruit to stay relatively intact.
I just use a dash of orange for flavor and to help the sugar dissolve. To help the fruit stay intact, just stir a little early on, then largely leave it alone.
The trick in putting this together is that you don't completely combine the fruit and cream, but more fold them together. This way you can still get the flavor and texture of both coming through.
Make ahead tips
One of the other great things about this dessert, as well as being so easy, is that you can make it part of fully ahead of time. You can cook the fruit a few days ahead and then simply refrigerate in a container until needed.
While you can have everything put together ahead of time, it's best not to make it too far ahead as the air will start to come out of the cream and so it loses its lightness. Plus, the acidity of the fruit can seep into the cream making it a bit liquid. However you can certainly make it a few hours ahead and just cover and refrigerate.
It makes a great dessert for entertaining guests, as a result.
Rhubarb fool is a simple combination of flavors and ingredients, but they come together so well. For me, it's one of the best ways to enjoy the often under-loved rhubarb that's such a treat this time of year.
Tasty, easy, and great for preparing ahead, this is one dessert you need to enjoy soon.
Try these other easy creamy desserts:
- Eton mess (a British dessert of fruit, cream and meringue)
- Crema Catalana (similar to creme brulée)
- Strawberry mousse
- Peach panna cotta
- Plus get more dessert recipes and spring recipes in the archives.
- 4 oz rhubarb
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- ¼ cup heavy cream double cream
- 2 tablespoon Greek yogurt plain - full fat or low fat as you prefer
- Trim the ends off the rhubarb and slice into relatively small slices. Put the rhubarb, sugar and orange juice in a small pan and stir gently to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a low simmer and cook a couple minutes until the rhubarb softens. Try not to stir much as it softens to avoid breaking up the rhubarb.
- Set the rhubarb aside to cool.
- Put the cream and yogurt in a bowl and beat until relatively stiff peaks form.
- Set aside a couple pieces of rhubarb to decorate the top of the glasses and fold the rest into the cream mixture. Divide the mixture between two glasses and top with the reserved rhubarb. Chill until ready to serve.
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