Rhubarb Fool

May 14, 2012

Rhubarb season has finally started here in upstate New York, which means it’s time to make one of my favorite rhubarb desserts: Rhubarb fool! A fool is an English fruit dessert made from cooked/puréed fruit and whipped cream. These ingredients can be either blended together or layered attractively in a parfait glass; I prefer the look and texture of the layered variety. It seems most rhubarb desserts include a second fruit (such as strawberries) to overcome the tartness of the rhubarb, but the test cooks at America’s Test Kitchen found that soaking the raw rhubarb in cold water for about 20 minutes tempered the sour flavor. The dessert still has a bit of tartness, but the whipped cream offsets and complements this with its sweetness.

The rhubarb mixture can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and kept refrigerated, so all you have to do before assembling is whip the cream. A perfect refreshing dessert for a party on a sunny late-spring day!

Rhubarb fool

Serves 8


  • 2 1/4  pounds rhubarb
  • 3/4  cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3  cup orange juice
  • Pinch salt
  • 2  cups heavy cream, chilled


  1. Trim and cut rhubarb into 6-inch lengths. If your rhubarb is fibrous and much larger than a celery stalk, peel it before soaking. Submerge the rhubarb in cold water for 20 minutes. Drain and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch chunks.
  2. Bring 3/4 cup sugar, orange juice, and salt to boil in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rhubarb, return to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb begins to break down, 7 to 10 minutes. Do not over-stir or the rhubarb will become mushy. Transfer the rhubarb to a nonreactive bowl, cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
  3. Whip the cream and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until frothy and the sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Increase to high speed and continue to whip until smooth, thick, and doubled in volume, 1 to 3 minutes.
  4. Spoon about 1/4 cup rhubarb into each of eight 8-ounce parfait glasses, then top each with about 1/4 cup whipped cream. Repeat the layering, ending with a dollop of whipped cream, and serve.


  1. […] In Teacups « Rhubarb Fool Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble May 15, […]

  2. […] In Teacups « Rhubarb Fool Escarole, Sausage, and White Bean Stew » Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble May 16, […]

  3. […] much as I love rhubarb fools, this time I was itching to try something different, something that didn’t involve cooking […]

  4. […] the Gourmet Cookbook only calls for half a pound, which left me enough to make a small batch of rhubarb fool too. […]

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