This "fool" is basically a rich vanilla custard, lightened with whipped cream and then swirled with sugar poached rhubarb and the delicious syrup that sugar poaching rhubarb produces. That syrup is incredibly versatile, and next time I make this I will make more rhubarb than I need so I can play around with the syrup - it would be great in a cocktail or non-alcoholic refresher, great with yogurt or ice cream, even pancakes! Rhubarb season is so short, it makes sense to make at least one dish where the rhubarb, tangy just slightly sweet, is the star.
Rhubarb Fool, adapted from Tasting Table (which adapted it from Nigel Slater's Tender, which is on my must get list!)
As you will see, this is not some sickly sweet pudding but a very adult dessert - it is kissed by sugar rather than showered by it. I added a bit more sugar than the original recipe which I thought turned out a subtly sweet dessert.
6 large rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into small 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons of water
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream, divided (2 and 1/2 cups and 1 cup)
1 vanilla bean split lengthwise or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
- To prepare rhubarb, combine the rhubarb, water and sugar in a small saucepan and turn on medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Once the mixture begins to boil turn the heat to low and simmer until the rhubarb is softened, 10 - 20 minutes.
- Remove the rhubarb with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Pour the syrup into a separate container.
- Refrigerate both the syrup and the rhubarb.
- To make the custard, if you are going the vanilla bean route, in a small saucepan combine the 2 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream with the vanilla bean. Bring to just a simmer, take off heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar vigorously until pale in color.
- Remove the vanilla bean from the cream and add a bit off the hot cream and whisk to combine. Slowly combine the rest of the cream with the eggs and whisk to combine completely.
- Pour this mixture into a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, cook the custard, whisking often, until it is thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Strain this custard through a sieve to remove any egg lumps into a bowl.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the custard until cooled.
- When the custard is cool, whip the remaining cream to soft peak stage. Fold together the custard and the cream until combined.
- To serve you can either layer the custard, rhubarb and syrup in a dish or fold in the rhubarb and some of the syrup, reserving some syrup to drizzle on top.