It is that time of the year again…getting close to April Fool’s day! Yay! Nothing quite like a day to purposefully fool people. I thought I would kick off the week with a recipe that is a little bit foolish and a whole lot delicious…rhubarb fool. Now, I seriously had no idea why this dessert is called a fool until I did a little bit of research. To be honest, I’m still not sure. I found two theories. First, the word “fool” comes from the french word “foole” which means to crush, the dessert is based on crushed fruit. Second, the fool dish was popular at the same time that trifle was popular and the term “fool” is used to mean “foolish” or “silly”, much like “trifle”. This reminds me of the debate over shephard’s pie or cottage pie…a matter of opinion? Whatever the reason, this dish fits perfectly into an April fool’s day themed meal.
4 cups chopped rhubarb (1/2 inch thick slices)
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp finely chopped candied ginger
zest and juice of one orange
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of freshly grated sea salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp granulated sugar
Candied Rhubarb Strips
1 stalk of rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1. Place the rhubarb, honey, orange zest and juice, candied ginger, vanilla and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Stir and cover. Allow the mixture to simmer until the rhubarb becomes soft, stirring every few minutes. This should take about 10 minutes.
3. Once rhubarb has softened remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4. Next, whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks form.
5. Fold 2/3 of the compote into the whipped cream, keep 1/3 of the compote for garnish.
6. Spoon the fool into individual serving dishes and chill for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, to make the candied rhubarb strips
1. Cut one stalk of rhubarb into 6 inch pieces.
2. Thinly slice, with a knife, mandolin or peeler, the pieces into 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch strips.
3. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat.
4. Simmer until sugar is dissolved – remove from heat.
5. Dip the ribbons of rhubarb into the syrup, then place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Place in 200F oven until dried, about 1 hour.
7. While they are still warm, wrap them over a pencil to make swirly shapes.
8. Place on top of the chilled dish of rhubarb fool and enjoy.
A fool can be made with any type of stewed fruit. I thought it would be nice to celebrate spring and enjoy some rhubarb. But, you could substitute strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, pears, whatever you have on hand. This dessert was easy to make and is beautiful to serve. HOT TIP: I cut some of my strips too thick for the candy, they took longer to dry out and didn’t work as well as the thin pieces.
Have you made a fool before (not been made a fool before)? What fruit do you like to use?