Irish Dessertrhubarb fool

Rhubarb Fool
(Serves 6)

The word "fool" comes from the French "foulé" for pressed or crushed—in this case, the fruit, which is cooked and blended with a creamy custard sauce. You'd be a fool not to try it.

2 lbs rhubarb (1/2" chunks)
6 T sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 3/4 C heavy cream (whipped)
crystallized ginger (optional)

1 C milk
3 egg yolks
1 T sugar
1 T cornstarch

Rhubarb: put rhubarb, sugar and ginger in a large saucepan and cook over low heat until rhubarb is soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.

Custard: in a saucepan, bring milk to a boil. Mix yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Pour boiling milk over eggs. Return egg/milk mixture to saucepan and cook gently over medium heat, stirring constantly, till custard thickens. Pour into a bowl and let cool.

Assembly: when custard is cool, combine it with rhubarb. Gently fold in whipped cream and spoon into small, stemmed glasses. Chill and, when ready to serve, garnish with crystallized ginger. Small plain biscuits (cookies) make a good accompaniment.

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Tips & Glossary

A special note about these recipes: they came from my friend Nan who lived in Ireland for several years. She married an Irishman, and the two returned to the US with their then-young family. These recipes are some of the family standbys. Nan is both a discerning reader and a wonderful cook.

Irish cooking is quite familiar to many Americans, and so you won't find surprises in the ingredient or spice lists. You probably have much of what's called for in your pantry—or else it's readily available in any grocery store.

Root vegetables are a staple of the Irish: potatoes, carrots, and parsnips are particular favorites. In Ireland, vegetables are served simply, but with lots of butter.

Meats are subjected to the slow-cook method. That's because, historically, the Irish used less-expensive, tougher cuts of meat. Our Irish Lamb Stew, for instance, actually calls for meat from the lamb's neck, not exactly the most tender cut of meat.


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