Sunday, April 23, 2006

St George's Day (and Shakespeare's birthday, and the Queen's eightieth, and the London Marathon...)

Gosh, quite a lot going on today.

Becks & Posh and Jam Faced are having a historic pudding event today, about English desserts. Not British, or Irish, Welsh or Scottish. Not French. Not Thai.

A bit more of a challenge than I realised actually. Traditional English desserts, well, puds, tend to fall either into the Eccles cake category - dried fruit and pastry - or the stodge and custard category - great if you have to run up and down a hockey pitch or play rugby. Each has its charm but not quite enough of it for me. It was Careme and co who brought light confections of sugar and cream to the English table, but no French puds allowed. Hmmm. What else did we used to eat that I actually loved? Ah ha! FOOL! Gooseberry fool is the best, but rhubarb runs it a close second. And rhubarb is in season. And clotted cream is never out of season. And we have excellent local cider. Hence my dessert for St George, which would not lie heavy on his tummy before he has to go out a-rescuing maidens from dragons.

Clotted Cream Rhubarb Fool with Cider Syrup.

Make a custard with

1/4 pint milk (scalded); mix 1 tsp arrowroot into three egg yolks and add to milk. Bring very slowly back to the boil, stirring constantly, and simmer until thick. Let cool a little and add two big spoonfuls of clotted cream. Mix until smooth.

Cook four sticks of rhubarb with a very little water and sugar to taste until soft but not destroyed. Drain liquid and reserve. Add half of rhubarb to custard.

Dissolve 1 tsp gelatine in reserved rhubarb juice and add to custard mixture. Fill moulds. Chill until set.

Make a syrup with dry cider and demarara sugar. Add to remaining rhubarb.

Any remaining clotted cream can be served on the side.

The colours are lovely on a spring day, pale primrose and rosy pink. The rhubarb has a fresh acidity balanced by the strong apple cider syrup. I think it makes a wonderfully refreshing end to a meal.

Should I mention that the word 'fool' comes from the French 'fou' or 'folle', as in trifle? Probably best not...


Anonymous said...

Gorgeous, seasonal, and it looks entirely delicious. Now if only we had any clotted cream around here....

Catherine said...

Oh, my! This looks and sounds sensational!

Anonymous said...

Yum! I would love some of this!

Sam said...

I am just going through all the whats for pud entries. How can i not keep on coming back to something so sinful and made of clotted cream, no less.

I'll have to try this next time I am in England.


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