People from cold climes have many reasons to be jacked up over Springtime; no more long johns, baby birds, mud pies and our tart friend rhubarb. Growing up in Wisco, it grew wild outside our farmhouse and so we would end up with loads of rhubarb jam for the rest of the year. I don’t really remember my mom cutting it with strawberries, rather I think she just added a butt load of sugar to sweeten it up. Here’s my take on the English dessert, fool, which uses cooked fruit or jam as a base to be layered with custard or whipped cream. It’s so easy Mr. T be yellin’ “I pity the fool that doesn’t make this fool!”
½ lb rhubarb
½ lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ cup sugar
1 small vanilla bean, scraped
Juice of 1 orange
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp sugar
Wash the rhubarb and trim away the tough ends. Cut in half, put in a bowl filled with cold water and soak for 20 minutes. This will help to retain its color while cooking.
After the rhubarb has soaked, slice it into ½ inch pieces and put into a medium saucepan. Add the strawberries, sugar, salt, vanilla and orange juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the rhubarb is tender, about 7-10 minutes. Only stir a few times so that you do not break up the rhubarb. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour or until it is thoroughly cool. This can also be done 1 day ahead of time as well.
Either using a stand mixer or by hand with a whisk, whip the heavy cream and 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form.
To assemble the fools, start by first layering the strawberry rhubarb mixture into the bottom of a glass. Top with the whipped cream, then another layer of the strawberry rhubarb mix and then a final layer of whipped cream.