Recipe: Rhubarb fool with orange shortbread gallery

Food styling: Kate Arbuthnot.

Food styling: Kate Arbuthnot.

Fools have the perfect balance of tart fruit and creamy decadence, and rhubarb makes a great fool. Just be sure to pair it with really good custard, home-made if you have time, with plenty of vanilla seeds in it. With the addition of shortbread for some welcome texture, you have heaven in a glass. Try using the fresh pink spring rhubarb if you can, for a lighter, pinker and sweeter rhubarb taste. 


Orange shortbread: 

125g unsalted butter, softened
½ cup icing sugar
1¼ cups plain flour
¼ cup cornflour
Zest of 1 orange

To decorate biscuits (optional): 

1 egg white, lightly beaten 
About 2 tablespoons caster sugar

Rhubarb fool: 

350g rhubarb
50g caster sugar
1 orange, juiced
150ml cream, whipped
300ml good-quality vanilla custard
1 handful pistachios, roughly chopped


Shortbread: Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift in flour and cornflour and add orange zest. Mix with a spoon to bring mixture together as much as you can then use your hands to knead into a smooth dough. Roll into a log, wrap in plastic then place in the fridge until firm, about 30 minutes. 

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Heat oven to 150°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Unwrap dough, slice into thin rounds and place on prepared baking tray. Bake 12-15 minutes or until pale and golden. You can leave the biscuits as they are or you can brush them with egg white and place little edible flowers on top. Brush with a little more egg white then sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake for a further 3-4 minutes to set the egg white.  

Makes about 16

Fool: Place rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and enough water to cover the rhubarb in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil and cook until rhubarb is soft – 10 minutes or so, no longer. Remove rhubarb from liquid with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. 

When you are ready to assemble, spoon layers of rhubarb, whipped cream and custard into serving glasses and top with chopped pistachios. Serve the biscuits on the side.  

Serves 4  

 - NZ House & Garden


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