Fool is a popular British dessert that is similar to Eton Mess but without the crumbled meringue shells. It is super easy to throw together – any combination of berries and cream will work, but they look particularly festive in tall stemmed glasses. This version based on an old recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Rhubarb Fool features rhubarb, which is a classic pairing with strawberries, and great to use during its peak season. If you have a bigger crowd, the recipe easily doubles, and you might make them easy to serve by using stemless wine glasses.
½ pound fresh rhubarb, trimmed of ends and cut into 6-inch lengths
8 ounces fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled; each berry quartered (about 6 or 7 large berries)
3 tablespoons orange juice
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream (cold)
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
4 Carr's Whole Wheat Crackers or Graham Crackers, finely crushed (about 1/4 cup)
4 sprigs fresh mint leaves (optional)
1. Soak rhubarb in a one-quart cold water for 20 minutes. Drain, pat dry with paper towels, and cut rhubarb crosswise into slices 1/2-inch thick.
2. Bring orange juice, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt to boil in medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rhubarb and strawberries and return to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring only 2 or 3 times (frequent stirring causes rhubarb to become mushy), until rhubarb begins to break down and is tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer rhubarb and strawberries to nonreactive bowl, cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
3. Place cream, sour cream, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in chilled bowl of stand mixer. Beat on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high; continue beating until mixture has nearly doubled in volume and holds stiff peaks, about 30 seconds.
4. To assemble fool, spoon 1/4 of the rhubarb and strawberries into each of two 8-ounce glasses, then spoon in about 1/4 of the whipped cream (you can also use a piping bag to help keep edges clean. Repeat, ending with dollop of cream. Sprinkle with crushed crackers and garnish with mint sprigs, if using. Serve or can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 6 hours.