winning hearts & minds on a case-by-case basis: rhubarb ginger foolish mess

rhubarb ginger foolish mess | everybody likes sandwiches

Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m feeling all sentimental. Maybe because I renewed my driver’s license today and I’m sad to report that my horrible photo of years ago will be replaced with a horrible new photo that pretty much looks identical in terms of craptitude. I’m a little miffed because unlike other years, today I actually wore make-up (something I rarely do) for my photo and felt I looked halfway decent. But I do have something to cheer about because for the last few weeks I’ve been taking driving lessons. I’ve had my license since I was about 17 but I haven’t driven in close to 20 years and felt it was about time for a refresher. So once I week I’ve been driving around town, on the highway, parallel parking and backing into a parking stall with a friendly driving instructor and this week was my last class. It’s exciting to have gained back a skill I had lost for so long and I like to think of it like a little present to myself. Happy birthday to me indeed.

rhubarb ginger foolish mess | everybody likes sandwiches

The title of this post is paraphrased from my horoscope this week and I’d like to share this amazingly simple but incredibly luscious dessert with you. It will most definitely win your heart and your mind and if you have doubts, please let me address them here. The key to this dessert is the rhubarb. I used to stew rhubarb on the stove because it was what my mom did and it was easy. But what my mom didn’t know is that stewing rhubarb in the oven is 100 times better because instead of the rhubarb turning an awful bandaid pinkish brown, it stays nice and bright red when you do it up in the oven. And guess what, it’s just as easy as doing it on the stovetop! My Seattle friend taught me that a few weeks ago when I popped over for a short Easter visit and I’m thrilled to have learned another new skill. Ginger and sugar get added because you really do need the sweetness and ginger is like rhubarb’s new best friend (strawberry who?). It’s best if you whip up the stewed rhubarb the night before and then pack it away in the fridge.

rhubarb ginger foolish mess | everybody likes sandwiches

The next day, run errands, clean your house and make a potato salad and have a barbecue with a couple of friends. Have loads of good beer on hand, grill up some New York steaks and hunker down outside and enjoy golden hour. Then while your friends are engaged in conversation, excuse yourself and whip up some heavy cream (I used my stand mixer because I don’t have anything to prove) and then set out a bunch of small juice or low ball glasses. They can be your grandmother’s elegant fancies or have goofy Japanese peanut characters on them. No one will care. Spoon out some rhubarb, crumble in your favourite gingersnap cookie and spoon over with whipped cream. Repeat until the glass is full and then stir it up with a knife. Put your glasses back in the fridge for 20 minutes or so and then bring them out and your friends will go nuts because they have never encountered such casually elegant deliciousness. It will be amazing because this little cup of soft cream, tart fruit and gingery cookie is so much more than it seems. Simple, right?

rhubarb ginger foolish mess | everybody likes sandwiches

Besides the rhubarb, the other key element here is the cookie. Yeah, I could have baked up a batch of gingersnaps but I didn’t because I wanted this to be easy. So I bought a bag of my favourite giant delicious ginger cookies from the local bakery up the street. They’re chewy and super gingerery which makes them perfect for this dessert. If you left out the cookie, you’d have an old fashioned “fool” which is whipped cream and fruit combined into a fluffy dessert. A twist on that is an “eton mess” which adds in a meringue cookie which is fine, but for my purposes I went with the gingersnap to complement the rhubarb. It’s a winning combo and I copped the best name. Enjoy!

rhubarb ginger foolish mess | everybody likes sandwiches

Oh, and a quick reminder that this weekend is Got Craft, so if you’re in town, come by and say hi!

rhubarb ginger foolish mess | everybody likes sandwiches

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14 comments to “winning hearts & minds on a case-by-case basis: rhubarb ginger foolish mess”

  1. 1
    Melynda   May 7, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I can’t wait to make the stewed rhubarb. We have lots in the freezer from the garden last year. And the fool, sounds delicious! Oh and Happy Birthday!

  2. 2
    Joanne   May 8, 2014 at 3:50 am

    Yay for relearning to drive! That’s really something that I need to do. It’s only been about six years for me, but that’s still a lot!

    I love how simple and elegant this is. Perfect for serving to guests!

  3. 3
    Ellen   May 8, 2014 at 7:56 am

    I’ve got rhubarb in the garden. I’m going to have to try the oven thing. My mom also did the stewed rhubarb on the stove. My only disappointment is that the variety of rhubarb I’m growing doesn’t turn red! So this will not look quite as appetizing with green rhubarb I fear.

  4. 4
    zsuzsi   May 8, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I make a rosemary-rhubarb jam every year that is not too sweet. It’s not very appetizing to look at. One year it was a lovely reddish colour. The secret? I happen to come across a red stemmed variety of rhubarb. I didn’t realize that you could get such a thing. Now I always ask the farmer. A common one is called ‘Canada Red’. I was inspired to plant some this year called ‘Valentine’ because the label said it would keep its colour. I’ll have to wait till next year to find out!

  5. 5
    jacquie   May 8, 2014 at 11:46 am

    a big cheer for you in terms of relearning how to drive. Wonderful. Happy Birthday.

  6. 6
    elizabeth   May 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Happy Birthday! Im working in Nunavut and rhubarb is in short supply…I found some at the Northern store today and am now heading back for the rest of the recipe. Thanks for the spring inspiration amongst all the snow! -foraginghere.com

  7. 7
    kickpleat   May 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Thanks Melynda! Hopefully, you’ll have plenty in your garden this year too. I’m jealous.

    Joanne, I’m so glad that I finally decided to do it. Freedom!!!

    Ellen, oh that is so strange – I’ve only seen red rhubarb here. Growing up we had one in our garden and it was the red variety too. I’m sure it will taste just as lovely even with the green!

    Zsuzsi, ooooh, that sounds good with the rosemary! I’m intrigued. The red variety is quite common here, I had no idea that there were other varieties out there!

    Thanks Jacquie :)

    Wow, I read some of your blog, Elizabeth! What a change and a culture shock. So interesting! At least you’ve got yourself some rhubarb, hope it wasn’t too expensive!

  8. 8
    Sues   May 8, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    First of all, this looks absolutely awesome! Second of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I’ve had my license since 16, but so rarely drive these days that I feel like I would highly benefit from a driving class. Such a smart idea!

  9. 9
    JoanneM   May 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Goodness! what a beautiful creamy dreamy dessert! I really, really, really want to try this!! And I really need to take driving lessons again because I too, have not driven a car in oh, 12 years. Hope you had a great birthday celebration!

  10. 10
    kickpleat   May 12, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Thanks Sues :) I’m happy to be back in the driver’s seat (!) and be able to get around on my own.

    Joanne, it’s pretty simple and delicious! I’m happy to have taken lessons, do it if you feel the need :)

  11. 11
    Rocky Mountain Woman   May 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Where I live driving every day is an absolute necessity. This dessert will probably soon be a necessity also…

  12. 12
    Lulu   May 17, 2014 at 10:52 am

    This looks very good. Do you think you could substitute something else for rhubarb if it’s not in season?

  13. 13
    lindsay   May 17, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Rhubarb and ginger! I’ve never tried the two together, but now I must. This looks delicious.

  14. 14
    kickpleat   May 23, 2014 at 8:18 am

    RMW, enjoy!

    Lulu, yes, you can sub in fresh berries and perhaps a mix of fresh berries pureed. If you try it, let me know!

    Lindsay, it’s a great combo, enjoy.

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