You may be disappointed to learn that the whimsical name of this charmingly simple dessert has nothing to do with foolish persons. Instead, it comes from the French word foulé, meaning “to press,” a reference to the mashed fruit most often used to flavor it.
The English claim the concoction as their own, although the French name implies that it may have started elsewhere. But the origin of the name is irrelevant; what’s important is the delightful combination of tangy fruit and lightly sweetened whipped cream, a pairing that evokes a taste of early summer.
Here’s another surprising fact – rhubarb, the classic ingredient in homey pies, crumbles, grunts and tarts, isn’t a fruit at all; it’s a vegetable. In fact, although it’s been cultivated for millennia in China as an herbal remedy, it’s only been eaten as a food for a few centuries. It wasn’t until cheap plantation-produced sugar became plentiful in the 1600’s that rhubarb came into its own as a popular foodstuff. Anyone who has ever experienced the mouth-puckering tang of a raw, unsweetened rhubarb stalk will understand why!
Who cares if rhubarb is fruit or vegetable? Rhubarb simply is what it is – and simply leaves us wanting more.
There are as many ways to make a fool as there are cooks, and a quick survey of recipes will show endless variations. Here, we’ve kept it simple, albeit with one minor departure from the usual. Our version tempers the richness of the whipped cream with a few dollops of thick Greek-style yogurt. We liked the smooth texture and pleasantly sour note that the yogurt brings, while still harmonizing perfectly with tangy rhubarb.
- About 1 lb rhubarb, washed, trimmed, any leaves discarded
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 Tbsp (or more to taste)
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 6 – 8 Tbsp Greek yogurt
- Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Dice the rhubarb into 1/2 inch square pieces. Put the cut rhubarb, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons water into a non-reactive pot. Cover and turn the heat to medium-high. When the rhubarb begins to simmer, reduce heat slightly. Remove the cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the rhubarb is very tender, about 10 minutes. Taste, stirring in more sugar, if you like it a little sweeter. Simmer for a moment longer, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Depending on how smooth or chunky you want the rhubarb, use one of the following methods.
- For a very smooth puree, transfer the cooked rhubarb mixture to a food processor, and puree until smooth.
- For a chunky puree, use a fork to gently mash some of the rhubarb, leaving most of it whole.
- For something in between, use a hand-held immersible blender and pulse to break up the rhubarb until it reaches the desired consistency. (This is our favorite method.)
Transfer the rhubarb puree to a bowl and refrigerate until completely cool.
Whipped cream/yogurt mixture:
For best results, make sure the cream is very cold and the bowl is very clean. Pour the cream into the bowl and add 1 Tbsp of sugar. We prefer to use an electric handheld mixer, beating the cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken slightly, then gradually increasing the speed to medium high until moderately firm (but not stiff!) peaks form. Make sure not to overbeat the cream. Set the whipped cream aside momentarily.
Put the yogurt into a bowl large enough to hold all of the recipe ingredients and beat it until smooth.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the yogurt. Spoon about 2/3 of the rhubarb puree into the whipped cream mixture and fold it in. Add the remaining 1/3 of the rhubarb puree and give it a few gentle folds, just enough to create some colorful swirls.
Spoon the mixture into bowls or glasses and chill for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve with crisp ginger snaps.
Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, and other recipes on the Earthy Delights Blog, can be purchased online at our retail website, Earthy.com. We welcome you to visit the Earthy.com website to view our extensive selection of hard-to-find ingredients and our complete Recipe Collection of over 500 tested recipes.
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