Finally I knew it after reading one of the Joy of Baking‘s page. According to that website, dating as far back as the sixteenth century, this classic British dessert has seen its popularity ebb and flow. Today fruit fools consist of cooked or raw fruit that is puréed or mashed, then sweetened, chilled, and finally folded into stiffly beaten whipped cream (there should be streaks of the white cream showing where the fruit was not completely folded into the whipped cream). Traditionally fools were made with tart fruits such as raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, loganberries, and rhubarb but today virtually any fruit can be used. It is best showcased when served in a long stemmed parfait or wine glass, garnished with fresh fruit. “Fool” is believed to have originated from the French word “fouler” which means “to mash” or “to press”.
1 stalk fresh rhubarb (1/2 lb or 228 g) cut into 1 – 2 inch (2.54 – 5 cm) pieces
1/4 cup light brown sugar
zest of one orange (optional)
1/4 cup (60 ml) strawberry puree*
3/4 cup (180 ml) whipping cream
* I made strawberry puree from 1/2 cup fresh strawberry slices by placing them into a hand blender. Process until the strawberries are puréed.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Mix together the rhubarb, sugar, and orange zest and place in an ovenproof dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 45 – 60 minutes or until the rhubarb is nice and soft. Check and stir the rhubarb after 30 minutes.
2. Once the rhubarb is soft, remove from oven and drain in a strainer suspended over a bowl. Press the rhubarb to force out the juice. There should be about 6 tbsp (90 ml) of juice. Place the juice into a small saucepan and boil the juice until reduced by half. Let cool.
3. Pureé the rhubarb in food processor or blender until smooth. It should have about 1/2 – 5/8 cup (120 – 150 ml) of pureé. Add the strawberry pureé and reduced rhubarb juice to the rhubarb pureé, taste and add more sugar if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled (overnight is best).
4. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. With a large rubber spatula gently fold in the rhubarb mixture. (You want the fruit fools to have streaks of the white cream showing where the pureé was not completely folded into the whipped cream). Place in three serving glasses. You can make the fruit fools several hours in advance of serving.