Thursday, 6 May 2010


There are 3 traditional English cream desserts, trifle,fool & syllabub. Syllabub is sweetened cream whipped with fruit juice, zest & alcohol. Fool is unsweetened cream combined with fruit compote. Of the two I have a ridiculous attachment to fool, preferably rhubarb or gooseberry. It's a bit early yet for gooseberries so ...

Rhubarb Fool
If you can get forced rhubarb (that's the pink/red stuff) then do, its sweeter and it makes your finished fool look a bit better. The first step its to cut the rhubarb down to 3cm chunks & put it in a corrosion proof pan, then add a small amount of water (a couple of tablespoons will do) and double the amount of sugar. Heat gently & watch the culinary magic happen.
What you do now depends on a couple of things, if you have nice pink chunks of rhubarb, whip a few out to decorate your finished dish with. If its older green rhubarb cook it down to a compote. The pink stuff you can simmer till soft. Put the whole lot through a sieve to get some pinkish rhubarb juice/syrup, reserve that & then sweeten the rhubarb to taste (probably 50-100g of sugar). Let everything cool. If you like you can sneak some of the syrup away for cocktail making (more on this in a later post). Whilst all that is going on its time to whip 500ml of cream, use the good stuff and whip it to soft peaks.
Fold your syrup into the cream, if it won't all go give the cream an extra bit of whipping & carry on till its all in.
Then start to fold in your Rhubarb chunks/compote. Taste regularly and once its to taste stop adding to it. The texture is difficult to describe, its sort of lumpy but not quite, similar to a thick clotted cream but with an acid bite. If you look carefully at the photograph you can see strands of fruit in the fool, and that is what you want. Dish it out into ramekins (it's quite a rich dessert, though I've never been in the position of having too much fool) and decorate. I've used a spoonful of compote & a slice of ginger, which goes very well with rhubarb. Chill till about 5-10 mins before you are ready to serve and you are good to go.

Its well worth making both a fool & a syllabub to compare the tastes & textures. It'll take a lot to convince me that the fool isn't superior though.

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