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For a strawberry-rhubarb fool recipe that would tame the sourness of rhubarb and overcome its tendency to cook into a drab, gray mess, we soaked the rhubarb in water to reduce the acid, simmered it in orange juice and sugar to retain texture and color, and layered the cooked fruit with lightly whipped, sweetened cream.
- ¼ pound fresh rhubarb, trimmed of ends and cut into 6-inch lengths
- 4 ounces fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled; each berry quartered (about 3 large or 4 small berries)
- 1 tablespoon orange juice plus 1 additional teaspoon
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch table salt
- ½ cups heavy cream (cold)
- Soak rhubarb in 1 quart cold water for 20 minutes. Drain, pat dry with paper towels, and cut rhubarb crosswise into slices ½-inch thick.
- Measure 1 tablespoon of the sugar and set aside. Bring orange juice, remaining 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 or up to 24.
- Beat cream and reserved sugar in bowl of small standing mixer or in a medium bowl using a hand-held mixer on low speed until small bubbles form, about 45 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave a trail, about 45 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume and forms soft peaks, about 30 seconds.
- To assemble fool, spoon ¼ of the rhubarb and strawberries into each of two 8-ounce glasses, then spoon in about ¼ of the whipped cream. Repeat, ending with dollop of cream; serve. Can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 6 hours.