Roasted rhubarb & strawberry crème fraîche fool with pistachio florentine crumb

Up until recently I lived in an inner city apartment in Wellington. Minutes from Moore Wilson’s, it actually took longer to make coffee at home than it did to walk to Customs and have infinitely better one made for me. The convenience and thrill of inner city living was shattered by the November earthquake. Our apartment was structurally unharmed but the contents, including both its residents, were shaken and anxious AF. 

While looking for a house in the burbs to move to, we’ve been relying on the kindness of wonderful friends who have let us stay with them. Currently without my mixers, cake tins and other kitchen kit, when a friend invited me around for dinner last week I responded with my usual, ‘I’ll bring dessert!’, before thinking through exactly how that was going to happen. Like a damn fool. But a damn fool who thought of making fool for dessert. 

Roasted rhubarb & strawberry crème fraîche fool with pistachio florentine crumb can be made with a minimum of equipment and time spent in the kitchen. A fool is a simple but heavenly dessert of stewed fruit folded through pillowy clouds of cream, or in my version, cream and crème fraîche. The pistachio florentine crumb is my other twist which adds an interesting texture and a beautiful green colour contrast against the pink-rippled cream. 

The roasted fruit and pistachio florentine crumb can be made a couple of days ahead, and the fool actually benefits from sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight; but wait to crumble the pistachio florentine crumb over just before you serve it so that it stays crisp.  

Roasted rhubarb & strawberry mascarpone fool with pistachio florentine crumb

For the fruit:

4 stalks of red rhubarb

zest & juice of a tangelo or orange (set the zest aside for florentine crumb)

2 tablespoons sugar

a punnet of strawberries

Preheat oven to 180°C fan bake. Wash rhubarb and cut in 2cm lengths. Place the rhubarb in an ovenproof dish with the tangelo or orange juice and sugar and bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile wash and hull the strawberries and cut them in half or quarters if they’re particularly large. Remove rhubarb from oven and add the strawberries, then return the dish to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside to cool. If making the fruit ahead of time, allow it to cool then store in the fridge in an airtight container.

For the pistachio florentine crumb:

130g flaked or whole pistachios (if using whole shelled pistachio, roughly chop the nuts)

a free-range egg white

reserved tangelo or orange zest

50g icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place a sheet of baking paper on a flat oven tray. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly then spread out in a thin and even disc on the baking paper, then place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack. Break up roughly into pieces and store into an airtight container until you need it.

For the cream:

200g crème fraîche

300ml cream

3 tablespoons icing sugar (or more if you want your dessert to be sweeter)

Beat the cream and icing sugar together in a bowl until it’s just starting to thicken, then add the crème fraîche in a couple of separate dollops whisking between each addition until its thick and of a spoonable consistency. 

Putting it together:

Gently fold the roasted rhubarb and strawberry mixture through the cream, but don’t mix it thoroughly so that you have ribbons of fruit. Place dollops of the fool into serving bowls and crumble over some pistachio florentine crumb. 

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