Being the beginning of October, it isn't altogether surprising to hear that our rhubarb bushes are beginning to shut up shop for the winter. Now, because they are so abundant, we had a complete triffid in the shape of Ruby (the original bush) and a triffid-in-training in the shape of Ruby 2 (her daughter).
Thanks to some high winds the other night, Ruby had suffered a little bit and hubby was required to go out there with his No.1 Slasher (i.e. a big knife) and harvest everything harvestable from her, before the rot set in. We've yet to tackle Ruby 2 who survived unscathed being as she is, cuddled up in the corner of the garden, yet the freezer is full already and a good many of the neighbours are catered for.
So the requirement was to find good uses of Ruby's bounty.
Now son & heir has been rabbiting on (ever hopeful!) about my making Rhubarb Fool. For all that I love the idea, I have been resisting it simply because a cream-laden Rhubarb Fool really isn't the type of dessert that any of us should be eating. However, then I had a blindingly good idea.
You see, Rhubarb Fool can be made in two ways. Firstly, there's the the cream and fruit variety and secondly, there's a custard and fruit variety - in which case the cream goes into the custard.
My brilliant idea was to use both cream and custard, but separately. Yes, I know that seems a bit counter-intuitive if you're trying to cut down on the amount of cream that's involved - but hang on.
I had already trimmed the sugar content in the fruit, by using Splenda 50/50 with sugar when I made the rhubarb compote for the fool. Said compote was, by the way, simply chunks of rhubarb, 1 heaped teaspoonful of mixed spice, a drizzle of ginger syrup and a tablespoonful of water with a 50/50 mix of Splenda and sugar, simmered until the fruit was soft, but not broken up, and retaining some of its tartness. It is good to have the texture of a soft chunk of rhubarb running through the dessert.
|Rhubarb, spice and syrup - just beginning to cook|
So - getting back to my bright idea - it occurred to me, that instead of using an entire pot of double cream to whip up and then stir the rhubarb into why not use half the amount of cream - and a carton of Ambrosia light custard? Inspired!
So, I whipped up a small amount of cream and folded some of the rhubarb compote into it, leaving just enough plain unadulterated cream for a blob on top of the Foolishes (as they had then become known).
I then began to assemble the desserts by spooning some of the rhubarb compote into the bottom of a sundae dish.
Then, it was a blob of the fool mixture, then a blob of custard, side by side.
Drizzle over more rhubarb compote, then add a blob of fool mixture and a blob of custard - except at different angles to the original, so that the difference in colour and texture can be seen.
Add a touch more compote and finish with a blob of the reserved whipped cream.
The Spiced Rhubarb Foolish dessert was born. Take me home, country roads - it was gorgeous.
SPICED RHUBARB FOOLISH (serves 3)
450g fresh rhubarb, sliced into half inch chunks
1 tsp ground mixed spice
200g granulated sugar (use 1 dessertspoonful of Splenda & 100g sugar, if you prefer)
2 tbsp ginger syrup
250ml double cream, softly whipped
250ml Ambrosia light custard.
1. Taking a medium sized saucepan, add the rhubarb, spice and ginger syrup and begin to heat on a medium heat.
2. When the rhubarb has begun to soften around the edges, add the sugar and the tbsp of water if required. You may not need the water, depending on how much is naturally in the rhubarb. Stir gently until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Simmer until the fruit is soft throughout, but not broken up, and retaining some of its tartness. It is good to retain the texture of a soft chunk of rhubarb, instead of just mush.
4. Set aside to cool thoroughly, until stone cold.
5. Whip the cream to soft peaks and reserve three teaspoonfuls separately.
6. Gently fold some of the rhubarb compote into the cream mixture, until it is softly pink and obviously contains rhubarb.
7. Begin to assemble the desserts by spooning into the bottom of a sundae dish, some of the rhubarb compote.
8. Next, add a blob of the fool mixture, then a blob of custard, side by side.
9. Drizzle over more rhubarb compote, then add a blob of fool mixture and a blob of custard - except at different angles to the original, so that the difference in colour and texture can be seen.
10. Add a touch more compote and finish with a blob of the reserved whipped cream.
Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge until required.