Rhubarb Fool – a delicious, creamy dessert using fresh rhubarb
Rhubarb Fool is a traditional English dessert, with the earliest recipes dating to the 17th century, which combines sweetened, cooked rhubarb with custard or whipped cream. This recipe is made slightly healthier by using a mixture of whipped cream and Greek yogurt. These are combined with Rhubarb Compote which is a simple sauce made from roasting fresh rhubarb with sugar.
I love the taste of rhubarb and believe that that it goes very well with anything creamy or milk-based. You just have to think of Rhubarb and Custard or Rhubarb Crumble with Cream. In this Rhubarb Fool recipe, the sharp, sweet-sour flavour of rhubarb is moderated by the cream and yogurt. This make is a perfect dish for those who are unsure about rhubarb and may even convert them. It is no coincidence that Gooseberry Fool, which uses another astringent fruit, is also a popular Fool recipe.
This really is an easy Banoffee Pie. I obtained the recipe from my youngest son who made it at Beaver Scouts when he was seven years old. He made it at camp and then taught me the recipe – clearly with ulterior motives – and it has been a family favourite ever since. I had no idea where it originated until one day I looked a little more closely at the tin of Carnation caramel – and there was the recipe!
Normally, I am a make-everything-from-scratch kind of cook. However, this recipe uses ready-made caramel. It is extremely sweet but tastes great with the bananas and, to be honest, this is clearly not a health-food recipe! I generally try and cook healthy food for my family, with lots of vegetables. However, I always do a dessert after Sunday lunch, which is often a big family gathering, and my easy Banoffee Pie is always very popular! Bananas and caramel are a classic combination and the unsweetened whipped cream balances the sugar hit of the caramel.
Due to its simplicity and no-cook method, this is a great recipe for children to try when they are learning to cook. Younger ones may need a bit of help when melting the butter for the base but if they are over ten, just give them the ingredients and the recipe and let them get on with it!
This easy Banoffee Pie is a no-cook dessert that only requires five ingredients. Popular with children and adults alike, it brings together bananas, caramel, whipped cream on a buttery biscuit base.
250 g digestive biscuits
100 g butter
397 g tin of Carnation caramel
3 ripe bananas
500 ml double cream
Crush the digestive biscuits into crumbs. I do this either by putting the biscuits in a metal bowl and then using the end of a wooden rolling pin to crush them or by putting them in a plastic bag and using the side of a wooden rolling pin. Either way, it is a great way of getting rid of a bit of stress!
Melt the butter – I generally do this by putting it in a small bowl and giving it a quick blast in microwave.
Put the biscuit crumbs and melted butter in a bowl and stir to combine. Then pour the crumb mixture into a 23 cm loose-bottomed cake tin and press down with the back of a spoon to form a smooth layer.
Put the tin containing the crumb mixture in the fridge for around 15 minutes. This will allow it to cool and harden so that it is easier to add the layer of caramel.
When the crumb mixture has cooled, spoon the caramel on top of it to form the next layer.
Peel and slice your bananas and place the slices on top of the caramel.
Whip the cream and smooth this on top of the banana layer.
This Strawberry Roulade is an easy dessert recipe that consists of a light rolled sponge filled with strawberry jam and whipped cream. In this recipe, I have used my Strawberry and Rose Geranium Jam for the filling which gives it a subtle flavour of rose. In essence, it is a posh strawberry Swiss Roll.
It is a good dessert for a party as it looks impressive on the table, can be made in advance and is easy to slice into individual portions. It is a bit retro but, in my view, is none the worse for that.
What you need to know about this Strawberry Roulade recipe
You need a Swiss Roll tin – a shallow, flat tin (approximately 38 cm x 26 cm or 10 x 15 inches) to make this recipe. It also makes it much easier if you have a food-processor with a whisk attachment or an electric whisk as hand-whisking the mixture can take a while.
This is a very quick recipe. The sponge is thin so it cooks in 15 minutes which is much more quickly than a cake.
It is vital that you roll up the roulade (step 8) while it is still warm. If you leave it to cool before doing this, it will be very hard to roll.
It is good for a party as, in addition to looking good on the table, it is easy to slice into individual portions.
I use my Strawberry and Rose Geranium Jam to add a hint of rose flavour. If you want to add a note of rose to your roulade, you can add a few drops of rosewater to a good home-made or shop-bought strawberry jam.
In this recipe, I used whipped cream and strawberry jam to fill the roulade. However, you could use another type of jam – raspberry or black cherry are good options – or honey as a substitute. You could also use fresh fruit, or a mixture of jam and fruit if you prefer. Any fresh berry, such as raspberries or blueberries, are good. You could also use a fruit compote, a simple mixture of fresh fruit and sugar which has been cooked very quickly, as a substitute. I have a recipe for Rhubarb Roulade which uses rhubarb compote.
Other easy dessert recipes
If you are looking for an easy, make-ahead dessert, you might also like some of my other recipes.
200 ml (700 fluid oz) double cream, whipped to form soft peaks
A little icing sugar
Set oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Line your Swiss roll tin with baking parchment or grease-proof paper.
Combine the eggs and sugar and whisk until thick and foamy. This can take up to 5 minutes. This is one recipe where you really need a food processor with a whisk attachment or an electric whisk rather than attempting to do it with a hand whisk.
Fold the flour and baking powder into the foamy egg and sugar mixture.
Pour the combined mixture into your Swiss roll tin.
Put the tin in the oven and bake the sponge for 15 minutes until firm and golden.
Turn the cooked sponge onto another sheet of baking parchment or grease-proof paper on which you have sprinkled around a tablespoon of caster sugar.
While the sponge is still warm, roll it up so it looks like a Swiss roll with the paper inside. You need to roll it up while it is warm – you can’t do this when it has cooled off as the cake will crack! Allow to cool completely.
You need to construct your roulade a couple of hours before you are ready to eat it – otherwise, the cream and jam will make it soggy. You need to unroll the sponge and remove the paper. Spread your jam over the sponge and top it with the whipped double cream. Don’t spread filling too thick and don’t take it quite up to the edge of the sponge (leave a gap of a couple of centimetres). This will avoid too much squidging out when you roll the cake up again!
Roll the filled cake up into a Swiss roll shape again.