From America's Test Kitchen Season 2: Chilled Summer Puddings
A fool is a quick, everyday dessert that just so happens to have a quaint and quirky British name. When we decided to try our hand at this simple dessert—essentially cooked fruit with sweetened whipped cream folded in—we sided with tradition and used rhubarb as the foundation. Although fool is in itself no culinary feat, the challenges lie in the rhubarb, with its sometimes overpowering sourness and tendency to cook into a thick, drab gray mess. We knew that before we could finalize a fool, we would have to tame the rhubarb. We wanted the perfect balance in our fool—pinkish-red, sweet/tart, toothsome fruit mixed with light, sweet cream.
Baking, stewing, and sautéing the rhubarb all led to gray, mushy fruit. Eventually, we hit on soaking the rhubarb in cold water for 20 minutes—this removed some of the bitterness—and simmering it with orange juice. Its flavor was now round and full, and its color bright red. As for the whipped cream, we decided that a soft-to-medium peak gave the fool just enough body without making it sliceable and stiff. For the best presentation and flavor, we arranged the rhubarb and whipped cream in layers rather than folding the two elements together. The alternating texture of fruit and cream made for a pleasing contrast of color and flavor.