Rhubarb Fool with Cardamom Cream
A fool is a classic British dessert consisting of pretty poached fruit and cream layers. For whatever reason, it always makes me think of Nigel Slater and Agatha Christie—two of my favourite Brits ever. All sorts of combinations and permutations of fool abound (look at me busting out the math lingo!) but it’s best to use whatever fruit is in season. My rhubarb plant is terribly generous, so I like to simmer chunks of it with a little white wine and a vanilla bean. It’s a grand way to usher in warmer weather. I could have used straight sweetened whipped cream, but I fancied it up by adding a little ground cardamom. With its good looks and stunning taste, this is a great recipe to have in your back pocket for summer entertaining.
3 1/2 cups chopped (3/4-inch pieces) fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup white wine
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
11/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup shelled and finely chopped pistachios, for garnish
To make the fool, place the rhubarb in a medium saucepan with the sugar and wine. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and then throw the pod in too. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down the heat to low, simmering away for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft, but still holds it shape. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Remove the vanilla bean pod and discard it.
To make the cream, in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix together the sugar and ground cardamom on low speed. Pour in the whipping cream. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly beat in the sour cream.
Layer the cooled fruit and cream in pretty glass cups/jars—you want to see the gorgeous layers. Spoon some fruit in first, then some cream, then more fruit and end with a layer of cream. Cover the fools with plastic wrap and let them chill at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with chopped pistachios just before serving.
These will keep, covered with either plastic wrap or their lids if you are using jars, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This would make a lovely trifle, when layered with chunks of Classic Vanilla Cake.
Use the same volume of sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots or plums instead of the rhubarb in the compote. Reduce the amount of sugar to ¼ cup if you do so. Softer fruits will take less time to cook, so check those frequently after the first 5 minutes.
* recipe shared with permission