There are many fools in the world, and most of them are far from pleasing. However, there is one exception that is very pleasing and tasty – the British dessert named “Fool”.
While the origins of this unique name are not entirely clear, it is well known that versions of this dessert have been around since the mid-17th century.
This was, and still is, a simple dessert, consisting of stewed fruit mixed with either custard (in the earlier versions) or with whipped heavy cream, as in modern versions.
In some versions, the stewed fruit and whipped cream are mixed, while in others, they are layered, which is what I’ve chose for this recipe.
To add a bit of more complex flavor to the whipped cream, many recipes mix it with a small amount of thick yogurt, mascarpone, or sour cream (my choice here).
The whipped cream pairs beautifully with tangy stone fruit or with berries, as they cut down the heaviness of the cream. Rhubarb is another popular choice for this dessert, and as it is a favorite of mine, and in season, I chose to use it here.
The stewed fruit are either used as is, or pureed to the consistency of a thick sauce. I prefer the first option, and cooked the rhubarb without mixing, so it will keep its shape.
As much as the original dessert is delightful in its simplest form, I’ve decided to make it a bit more interesting and aromatic, by cooking the rhubarb with star anise, cloves, cinnamon and a bit of pepper. I also added some vanilla to the whipped cream.
Both rhubarb and cream can be prepared in advance, and assembled before serving, which makes for easy entertaining.
Once assembled, the dessert was both beautiful and delicious. It was lightly sweet, fresh and fragrant, and made the perfect summer dessert on a hot day. Try it and enjoy.
A cherry-almond version, from “Cocoa and Lavender” blog, can be found HERE, along with many other tasty recipes.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Whipping time: 10 minutes
For the rhubarb:
3 stalks rhubarb
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
Dash freshly ground 4 peppers mix
Dash of salt
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup water
For the whipped cream:
1 pint (473 ml) heavy cream (36% fat), well chilled
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup sour cream
- The rhubarb: cut the rhubarb stalks into medium size pieces (measure 3 cups). Place in a wide pot, in one layer, and add the spices and salt. Mix the water and sugar, and pour over.
- Cover the pot and place over medium-high heat, and bring to the verge of boiling. Reduce the heat to medium-low, uncover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes, until the water absorbed and the rhubarb is soft, but still keeps its shape. (To keep the rhubarb pieces from disintegrating, gently tilt the pot while cooking, but don’t mix.)
- Let cool to room temperature, then keep in the fridge, covered, until using, and up to a day in advance. Discard the spices before assembling.
- The cream: pour the chilled heavy cream into a medium bowl. Add the vanilla and sugar and start whipping on low speed. Increase the speed to medium, and whip until the cream starts to set. Add the sour cream, and whip on medium-high speed, until stiff peaks are formed.
- Fill two pastry bags, fitted with star tips, with the cream. Keep in the fridge until using, up to 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, prepare 6 (5½ oz (155 ml)) serving cups. Add a layer of rhubarb to the bottom, followed by a layer of whipped cream, and repeat. (Save 6 rhubarb pieces for the top.) Serve immediately.