This brisk and fruity 4-ingredient Keto Rhubarb Orange Fool simply shouts “Summer!” And it manages to be tangy, citrusy, and rich, all at the same time. A couple of simple tricks make this super-easy dessert taste brilliantly fresh. I’ll show you how!
Tips for making the Keto Rhubarb Orange Fool
Fool is an English dessert that usually consists of stewed berries or fruit and sweet custard or whipped cream. Gooseberries are the classic choice, but there are several popular variations, of which rhubarb fool is one of the most common. And just like the traditional version, this keto fool is also very easy to make.
I’ve developed and tested it thoroughly, so it’s a good idea to follow the instructions in this post to a T. Don’t despair; it’s not hard! The preparations are quick and easy; chilling the cooked rhubarb takes the most time.
First of all, when you cook the rhubarb, use low a temperature and cook the mixture uncovered. This way the excess fluid will evaporate and you’ll end up with a nice thick puree.
Secondly, the orange peel is added after cooking, not before, like you see in most recipes that combine rhubarb and orange peel. When you add fresh orange peel, you’ll get that unbelievably fresh, fruity, tongue-tickling burst of fresh orange — not the dull, muted, stale taste of cooked orange. Orange peel is a wonderful way to add fruity flavor to your keto diet—in which fruits are, of course, otherwise a big no-no.
Remember to let the rhubarb mixture cool down properly in the fridge before mixing it with the whipped cream. That way the consistency of the dessert will be stiff and voluminous.
That’s it! Told you: it’s not hard at all. So, let’s take a look at how to prepare this summery dessert:
Take the sliced rhubarb. If your rhubarb stalks are thick, you may need to peel them like I did here.
Place the rhubarb into a small saucepan.
Add the sweetener. Here, I use 1/3 cup (80 ml) brown sugar substitute. It doesn’t produce a very sweet result, so feel free to use up to 1/2 cup (120 ml) if you prefer a much sweeter dessert.
Cook over a low heat, uncovered…
…until the rhubarb is soft. This takes some 10-15 minutes.
When the rhubarb is soft, remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold.
When the mixture is cold, add the orange peel. It’s important that you use only the orange-colored part of the peel, not the white pith, as the pith lends a very bitter taste.
Pureé the mixture…
…until smooth. I have an immersion blender here, but you can also use a regular blender. If you hate finding pieces of orange peel in your desserts, don’t worry: since you’re adding them before pureéing, they’ll become smoothly incorporated into the mixture and you won’t notice them at all! On the other hand, you can also leave some chunks in the rhubarb mixture if you like.
Taste-test, and add more sweetener (like liquid stevia, which dissolves immediately) or other seasonings, if desired (see my seasoning experiments in the next chapter for some ideas).
Next, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
Layer the rhubarb mixture and whipped cream in to 4-6 serving glasses for an impressive presentation.
You can also mix the rhubarb mixture with the whipped cream very gently, taking care not to blend the two together completely, and then transfer the dessert into serving glasses (see the video for that method).
My Keto Rhubarb Fool experiments
Rhubarb is thriving in our backyard. Sad to say, I very seldom use it. But this is because it contains such high levels of oxalates. I have kidney problems and I’m very prone to kidney stones because I have medullary sponge kidneys. For years, I’ve had about 20 stones in each kidney. However, during all those years, I’ve passed only one stone—after the one and only time I took 500mg of niacin at once!
Niacin is a great vasodilator, meaning it widens blood vessels remarkably (you might know the “flush” phenomenon related to niacin, where your skin turns bright red all over and you might experience some itching, too). Well, it seems that the niacin loosened one of my stones and it started moving along the urethra. I can tell you it was an extremely painful and uncomfortable experience! Anyway, eating foods with high levels of oxalates (like rhubarb and spinach) tends to promote kidney stone formation in those who are prone to them, like me. Oxalates also create other problems for some individuals, in which case foods containing them are best avoided.
Still, I thought my personal limitations shouldn’t prevent me from developing rhubarb recipes for other people. So I finally wanted to try out my idea for a keto rhubarb fool. Here in Finland, we often use rhubarb to make kiisseli (kissel or kisel), a sort of custard or jelly, but it’s not creamy and it’s quite liquidy compared to jelly or custard. Because of the oxalate situation, the old tradition tells you to consume dairy products when you eat rhubarb (this is because calcium-rich foods can help your body process oxalates without turning them into kidney stones). In Finland, that means adding milk or cream to kiisseli. And in the English dessert, rhubarb fool, you combine whipped cream with pureed rhubarb. Rhubarb fool sounds like a pretty perfect dessert: sweet, tangy, yet rich and creamy. And it’s surprisingly easy to make it keto-friendly. With a fool, you don’t even need to think of suitable thickeners, like you do when making kiisseli.
I was pondering the ingredients I’d need for my keto rhubarb fool. In addition to rhubarb and whipped cream, I needed sweetener, plus something else for more flavor. I decided to use brown sugar substitute Sukrin Gold as a sweetener, since it’s one of my all-time favorites. It tastes superb, and lends both a delicious caramel flavor and a hint of vanilla to any dessert.
But I also wanted to add some kind of seasoning or spice to my keto rhubarb fool. Again, I conducted some experiments with different seasonings (the list will follow soon), but first I had to get the amounts right to make sure my rhubarb fool had the perfect consistency and taste.
For my first experiment, I took 2 cups (470 ml) sliced rhubarb and 1/3 cup (80 ml) Sukrin Gold. I placed them into a small saucepan and cooked the mixture slowly over a low heat. I had covered the saucepan with a lid. The rhubarb took 10 minutes to soften, but there was quite a bit of fluid left. Therefore, I thought cooking the rhubarb without a lid would be better: I would end up with a thicker puree and a better consistency, I predicted.
During my next experiment I cooked the rhubarb without a lid, and the consistency turned out just right. (Well, the cooking time was some 15 minutes, so it did take longer to cook uncovered.)
But which seasoning I should add? I thought about different flavors that go well with rhubarb. Yes, strawberry would definitely have been a nice addition, but I didn’t want to add more carbs, and I wanted to get a more “pure” rhubarb flavor. After taking all matching seasonings from my pantry (and backyard), I ended up testing the following stuff (I’m using my favorite rating system here, again, where * = inedible and ***** = incredible):
- Fresh mint ****+ (Really good! A very good match; a nice, fresh taste)
- Grated orange peel ***** (I added it fresh and raw, though it’s usually boiled together with rhubarb. Maybe this is why it tasted so enormously fruity and fresh—I mean, really delicious and fresh! There was no need for any additional sweetener, as the taste was so fruity)
- Ceylon cinnamon *** (Business as usual. The taste was good, even delicious, but nothing new here)
- Ground cardamom **** (A really good combo! An extremely pleasant taste with some depth)
- Ground nutmeg ** (Not a lot of flavor here; a weird, bitter aftertaste at maximum)
- Apple pie spice **** (Exceptionally good! Warm, delicious taste. Spring and fall combined!)
- Maple flavoring ***- (The idea was good, but the result was a tad too weird. Maybe sugar-free maple syrup would work better?)
- Vanilla extract ****½ (Super-delicious! One of my real favorites. Rhubarb really shines with vanilla)
- Ginger (powder) ** (Ginger and rhubarb is a great match, but ginger just doesn’t fit this creamy dessert. Far too a weird combo)
I was pondering whether to choose grated orange peel or vanilla extract for the final recipe. Since the fresh, grated orange peel lent such a fruity flavor and the whole dessert shouted “Summer!”, I decided to opt for the orange peel. Anyway, I still wanted to conduct one more experiment in which I cooked the orange peel with the rhubarb (the usual way of combining orange and rhubarb). I did, and as I had expected, the boiled orange peel made the dessert taste dull and lifeless. Not that it was bad, but fresh orange peel was from a completely different world. It created a real burst of citrus: it was almost a citrus bomb exploding in your mouth. And it matched the rhubarb perfectly.
Here’s the recipe. I bet you’ll fall in love with this dessert even if you’re not a big fan of rhubarb. Only a fool would skip this fool!
|Per serving if 4 servings in total
|Per serving if 6 servings in total
Tips for variations
If you cannot access Sukrin Gold, you can use some other sweetener. There is another brown sugar substitute from Swerve, but in my opinion, Sukrin Gold beats it in every way. I bet powdered erythritol would be a good option as well, but I don’t recommend granulated erythritol (or erythritol crystals). In my experience, they tend to feel “gritty” in cold desserts.
Again, feel free to use spices and seasonings that you love in this recipe. Go ahead and do your own taste tests! But you might want to give the fresh orange peel a try first; it really is fabulous.
Nothing prevents you from combining different seasonings, either. Next, I’m going to try both orange peel and vanilla extract (my mouth is watering just thinking about it!)
Naturally, you can make keto fool with different low-carb berries. Cranberries are the lowest in carbs, and I bet they’d make a wonderful fool dessert. Sounds pretty perfect dessert for Thanksgiving! (Actually, about four and half years ago I posted this Cranberry Cherry Rum Fool recipe; I conducted some flavor experiments there, too.) Also, gooseberries are surprisingly low in carbs, so you can definitely use gooseberries to make the most classic version of a fool.
Instead of whipped cream, you can use thick Turkish or Greek yogurt for some extra tang.
For additional texture, you can sprinkle chopped nuts or keto granola on the dessert.