Monday, April 9, 2012

Lundi: Recipes

I saw this morning that the Lower 48, as Alaskans refer to the contiguous United States, had the warmest March ever.  Or at least since records of that sort of thing began to be compiled in 1895.  By contrast, we have now clocked over 134 inches of snow here in Anchorage, breaking the earlier record held by the winter of 1954-55. 

Despite the fact that spring is not yet in bloom outside my window, I’m already thinking about the wonderful local fruits that will be available to us when the farmer’s markets open in May.  Today’s recipe shows off any fresh or frozen fruit to perfection.  Known as a Fool – why I cannot say – this simple but delicious dessert is a wonderful way to use berries in particular but it can also be made utilizing peaches, apples, pears or even grapes.

4 cups of your chosen fruit
¼ cup water (plus a little more if needed)
1 cup baker’s sugar
2 cups heavy cream

Wash, trim and chop fruit as necessary.  Place it in a saucepan with ¼ cup of water and cook over low heat, stirring often and adding a little more water if necessary.  The fruit should be tender to knife-point which can take as little as 20 minutes or as much as 40 minutes, depending.

Remove from heat and allow fruit to cool a bit before putting it through a fine sieve or food mill.  Add the sugar and stir to dissolve before allowing the puree to cool to room temperature.

Whip the cream lightly.  You want it to thicken but you don’t want stiff peaks.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the fruit puree.

This is best served chilled and it looks lovely in a wine or dessert goblet with cookies for dipping.  Bon appetite ~

Header: Bell Telephone ad c 1959: “Why you need a kitchen extension” via Mid-Century


Undine said...

A few years ago, I actually tried to find out where the name came from, after reading a novel where gooseberry fool played a large part in one chapter. (Yeah, that's the sort of crazed research geek I am.) The name dates back at least to the 16th century, but as for the origin, all the best sources shrug their shoulders and say "Beats us."

I'll love to try this recipe, if I find any decent fresh fruit around here. Which ain't easy to do.

Pauline said...

Thanks for adding so much to this post, Undine; what a great story.

I remember Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin eating gooseberry fool (which I guess is a pleasant minty green in color) in one of O'Brian's books but I cannot recall which one.

Please come back and let me know how it goes if you do try this recipe. I'm personally looking forward to raspberry fool at the end of summer.

Timmy! said...

And here I thought I was the only fool around here, Pauline...

Timmy! said...

That's a funny picture, too...

Pauline said...

I love, love, love that picture. I have never in my life seen a house that clean or hair that perfect. Especially not where little kids are concerned!

Undine said...

Just wanted to tell you this recipe was pure serendipity. The other day, I was helping one of our neighbors empty out her kitchen a bit. (She’s a true food hoarder—the garage has a separate freezer chest that I’ve warned her should be turned over to a team of trained archaeologists.) Anyway, in her refrigerator I found the biggest bunch of rhubarb I’ve seen in my life. She said she got it at a farmer’s market because “it was such a bargain,” but she didn’t have any idea what to do with it. I immediately thought, “Aha!” Last night “the girls” (as she calls them) came over to her house for a meeting--they’re all members of the Red Hat Society--so I used your recipe to put together a big pot of rhubarb fool to serve them. I’m a pretty inept cook, but it came out quite beautifully. “The girls” loved it, and so did I, for that matter. And I'm usually no fan of rhubarb. So, thank you from us all!

By the way, that gooseberry fool I mentioned earlier included a bottle of brandy and two—count ‘em, two—bottles of champagne. Not sure how it would taste, but if I served that up, it’d give a whole new meaning to the RHS’s “paint the town red” slogans.

Actually, now that I think of it, some of those Red Hat gals might go for it, which is a really scary thought. Dead sober, they’re a wild lot, I tell you.

Pauline said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this, Undine. Sounds delicious (and rhubarb is one of those "grows in everyone's backyard" around here so I will certainly give it a try).

A toast to you, my friend, with a full snifter of brandy!