My Rhubarb Fool – A perfect Seasonal Dessert

What is Rhubarb Fool?

Rhubarb fool is a great seasonal dessert when fresh fruit in the UK is in pretty short supply. Early in the New Year ( Happy 2019 everyone ) and many of us are thinking about trying to shift the extra weight we may have put on over Christmas. I’m not sure I can go as far as something really healthy, but what I do have is an idea to revitalise any jaded party palettes. As it is time for the earliest of the season’s rhubarb, what about this delicious sweet? Forced rhubarb will be available from good greengrocers but it can be pricey, you can wait for the season’s main crop. The best forced rhubarb comes from the rhubarb triangle in West Yorkshire.

We chefs can sometimes overlook simple classic dishes that have pleased people for a very long time. The fruit fool is a versatile and first-rate example of an underrated culinary star, tart fruits with sweetened cream. You can make them pretty much throughout the year starting with rhubarb, then strawberries, gooseberry and elderflower is delicious and finish with late season raspberries in Autumn.

Trimmed Rhubarb Stems

My Rhubarb Top Tip

I was bought up from an early age by three formidable ladies, my Mum and the aunties Elizabeth and Mary, all incredible cooks. Peeking over the kitchen table I watched them pickle, preserve, knead, ferment, blanch, pluck, peel and chop with carefree abandonment. My guess is a little must have rubbed off on my shoulders. They were all armed with Mrs. Beeton, Robert Carrier, the Bero book and all became particularly big favourites of the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.

Rhubarb Leaves are Poisonous!

I do not remember if my tip for today was in the book, but I remember it was full of beautiful illustrations and lots of old country lore. I am pretty sure most people are aware that the leaves of rhubarb are poisonous, but they do have a use. If you have a badly burnt pan leave it to soak for a couple of hours with some torn up rhubarb leaves covered with water. The carbonised food should then be easy to shift with warm soapy water and a scourer, please make sure you rinse thoroughly.

My Rhubarb Fool

I’m not sure if the purists would serve a fool on a biscuit base but I like the butter ginger biscuit base which adds a nice little contrast to the softly whipped cream and poached fruit. The choice is up to you if you wish to leave it out. So while I am not going to win any points for calorie-free food I think this is winner on flavour. Enjoy

My Rhubarb and Ginger Fool
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Rhubarb and Ginger Fool

You can adapt through the changing fruit seasons with rhubarb, gooseberry, raspberry and loganberries. This recipe is adapted from one by one of my culinary hero’s, Simon Hopkinson. I like the flavour combination of rhubarb and orange with the buttery ginger biscuit base. You can make it with caster or golden sugar but again I like to use soft brown sugar for the added extra toffee / caramel flavour.
Course Dessert, Pudding
Cuisine English
Keyword Dessert, Rhubarb
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cooling time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Christian Gott


For the Fool

  • 1 kilo Rhubarb trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 350 gram light Brown Sugar
  • 1 large Orange zest and juice
  • 200 ml Jersey Double Cream
  • 200 ml thick Greek Yoghurt

For the Base

  • 200 gram Ginger Biscuits blitzed to a fine crumb
  • 100 gram unsalted Jersey Butter melted

To Garnish

  • Mint Sprigs
  • Icing Sugar


  • Pre-heat oven to 190 C / 375 F / Gas Mark 5. Place the chopped rhubarb in an oven proof casserole dish with the orange rind, juice, and 300 grams of the sugar. Cover with tin foil and bake for thirty to forty minutes until the fruit is completely soft.
  • Once the rhubarb is cooked let it cool for a few minutes, strain through a colander and reserve the juice. Purée two thirds of the cooked fruit until perfectly smooth, then chill the purée and the remaining rhubarb pieces until cold.
  • Put the juice into a small heavy bottomed saucepan and place over a medium heat to reduce down by around three quarters. Remove from the heat and cool then chill.
  • Mix the ginger biscuit crumbs and the melted butter in a medium sized bowl then carefully spoon into serving glasses.
  • Whip the cream with the remaining sugar until it forms thick ribbons, then carefully fold in half the rhubarb purée and Greek yoghurt. Once the cream, yoghurt and purée are combined, drizzle some of the juice through the fool to give a ripple effect.
  • Spoon the fool into a large disposable piping bag and pipe onto the biscuit base. Top with the remaining puree and pieces of rhubarb. To serve dust with icing sugar and garnish with a mint sprig.


Allergens in this recipe are;
Flour  Eggs Milk  
Please see the allergens page

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