There is no country like Great Britain when it comes to naming what I call (and they do too) nursery desserts – syllabub, spotted dick, whim-wham, roly-poly, fool, and apple dappy are just a few of the sweet desserts the English call puddings. Fools are one of my favorites simply because they are so easy to do, particularly in the summer when berries and fruits are at their peak. I don’t know where the name “fool” comes from, but perhaps because a cook would be a fool not to embrace this easy to do dish which in its basic make-up is just fruit and whipped cream, although there are ways to fancy it up. I tend to lighten it a bit with a combination of yogurt and whipped cream. Gooseberries are the traditional berry used, but they are rarely available except for a couple of weeks in the summer at farmers markets, so feel free to use any berry or fruit you like.
In this recipe, I just sprinkle the top with crushed cookies, but if you want to turn it into a dinner party dessert, layer the fool between layers of crushed cookies in individual glass bowls or even martini glasses, ending with a layer of fool. You can also save a few gooseberries to use as garnish along with that proverbial mint leaf.
1 pound fresh gooseberries, topped and tailed
3 tablespoons granulated sugar or to taste
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Confectioners’ sugar or to taste
¼ cup crushed cookies of your choice
Combine the gooseberries with ¼ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until very soft.
Remove from the heat and pour into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the granulated sugar and process to a smooth puree. If you hate seeds, press the puree through a fine mesh sieve into a clean container and set aside to cool. If you don’t mind seeds, transfer the puree to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
Place the heavy cream in a medium mixing bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat for a minute or so to lighten. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Fold the yogurt into the whipped cream.
Scrape the whipped cream mixture into a serving bowl. Gently fold in the cooled gooseberry puree. Taste and, if necessary, sweeten with confectioners’ sugar.
Sprinkle the top with crushed ladyfingers, amaretti cookies, vanilla wafers, or butter cookies and serve immediately.
If not serving immediately, do not sprinkle the top with the cookies until ready to serve. Refrigerate for up to 6 hours.