Strawberry rhubarb fool with rose-scented shortbread

Strawberry rhubarb fool with rose-scented shortbread

Danielle Wood

The sweetened and slightly floral layers in this dessert make it a fine centrepiece to end an early summer dinner. It works especially well if you have a vintage style trifle bowl to show it off in, but any glass bowl will do. Make some rose-scented shortbread to serve on the side for added texture and to complement the rhubarb and strawberry flavours.

For the rhubarb fool:


Quantity Ingredient
500g rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 2cm chunks
1 vanilla pod, seeds
150g caster sugar, plus extra to taste
300g fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half
300ml double cream
2-3 tablespoons icing sugar

For the rose-scented shortbread:

Quantity Ingredient
110g unsalted butter
55g caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
170g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch salt
1 teaspoon rose extract


Quantity Ingredient
1 litre glass bowl


  1. Combine the rhubarb, the seeds from half of the vanilla pod and the caster sugar in a medium saucepan and set aside for 20 minutes without heating. Gently cook the rhubarb in its juices over a low heat with a lid on for 5 minutes or until tender. Strain (keep the syrup) and set aside. Return the syrup to the saucepan over a high heat with the lid off. Simmer until reduced and thickened. Set aside to cool then combine with the cooked rhubarb. Taste the rhubarb compote and add more sugar to taste.
  2. To make the shortbread, place all of the ingredients in a bowl and beat with a stand mixer or electric hand mixer until just combined. Bring the dough together with your hands, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and chill for 20 minutes. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 5 mm thick, cut out 5 cm rounds using a pastry cutter and transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment (this should make 24 biscuits). Chill until firm. Preheat the oven to 170°C, sprinkle the biscuits with some caster sugar and bake in the oven for 8–10 minutes or until golden brown at the edges but still pale in the centre. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  3. To assemble your fool, combine the cream, icing sugar and remaining vanilla seeds in a bowl and whisk until the cream holds its shape. Place half of the rhubarb compote into the bottom of a 1 litre bowl. Reserve a tablespoon of the rhubarb liquid to drizzle over the top and fold the remaining compote into the whipped cream. Spoon a layer of the whipped cream mixture on top of the rhubarb and arrange the strawberries, cut side out, on top. Cover with the remaining whipped cream mixture, drizzle with the rhubarb liquid and chill for at least 20 minutes. Serve with the shortbread on the side.
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