Rhubarb fool

Rhubarb fool

How to Cook Desserts
Peter Cassidy

If you can restrain yourself from stirring the 3 elements of this rhubarb fool together completely in the final step, you can achieve a lovely ‘rhubarb ripple’ effect which looks particularly good served in glasses.


Quantity Ingredient
300g rhubarb, (about 2–3 thin sticks)
150ml water
100g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod
300ml whole milk
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornflour
150ml double cream
a little icing sugar, to taste


  1. Trim the ends off the rhubarb, cut into 3cm pieces and put into a saucepan with the water. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes until the rhubarb has completely softened. Stir in half of the sugar and simmer, uncovered, until all but about 2 tbsp of the liquid has evaporated. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make the custard. Split the half vanilla pod lengthways, put into a saucepan with the milk and bring to scalding point. Beat the yolks and cornflour with the remaining sugar in a bowl until smooth.
  3. Gradually stir in the hot milk, reserving the vanilla pod, then pour the custard back into the rinsed out pan and return to a medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the custard comes to the boil.
  4. Remove from the heat and scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod into the custard. Strain into a bowl and cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming as it cools.
  5. When the rhubarb and custard are both cool, lightly whip the cream to the soft peak stage.
  6. Stir the rhubarb into the custard, then fold in the cream. Taste and add icing sugar if needed. Spoon into tall glasses to serve.


  • To make gooseberry and elderflower fool, replace the rhubarb with 300g gooseberries, adding 75ml elderflower cordial in place of the sugar once the gooseberries are soft. Push the fruit through a sieve to make a purée before cooling and adding it to the custard and cream. Add more cordial or icing sugar to sweeten if required.

    To make a quick summer berry fool, omit the rhubarb. Mash 300g mixed summer berries with 50g caster sugar and mix with the custard and cream.
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