April (Raspberry-Rhubarb) Fools!
This dessert might be named a fool, but it ain’t foolin’ around! Layers of tart fruit compote and rich, custardy cream make this dessert completely decadent, and rather elegant as well. It’s also a little introduction to spring and, although it’s a rainy first day of April, a few bites of this put me in a brighter state of mind.
If the weather is a little gloomy, let some vibrant red rhubarb and raspberries add some color to your day. You can’t help the smile spreading across your face as you dip your spoon through the layers, scoop the cream onto your tongue. Your eyes might even close in a moment of bliss.
But plan ahead. The jelly-like fruit compote needs to set up overnight (or at least several hours), so start this dessert the night before hand or early in the day if you want it ready by dinner time. If you prepare it the night before, however, you can assemble them in the morning…and have one for breakfast…like I might have done…
adapted from Irish Puddings, Tarts, Crumbles and Fools
Yield: 4-6 servings (depending on the size of your glasses)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 stalks rhubarb, sliced
- 1 heaping cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 (1/4-oz) envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cups milk (2% or whole)
- 2 eggs or 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- To make the compote, combine 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the rhubarb, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the rhubarb is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the raspberries and cook until tender, another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining 1/2 cup water and let sit until the gelatin is softened. Stir into the warm fruit mixture. Add the lemon juice. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Make a pastry cream by heating the 2 cups milk in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, slowly add to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook until thickened, whisking constantly.
- Pour the pastry cream into a shallow dish, stir in the lemon zest and vanilla, and cover with the plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool, at least 2 hours.
- When you are ready to assemble the fools, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Reserve a quarter of the whipped cream. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the chilled pastry cream.
- Layer your fools into your desired glasses, starting with the fruit compote (stir this up a bit before scooping it), then a layer of cream, etc. Be careful with your second layer of fruit to gently scoop it over the cream and not press down on it. Do as many layers as your like! Top with a dollop of the reserved cream, a few fresh raspberries and some lemon zest. A sprig of mint wouldn’t be amiss here, or a few crunchy cookies for dipping. Enjoy!