6.28.11 Fool for Love
That's me. Did you know I've been married four times? And I'm not that old. Twice divorced and widowed once. But in it for the long haul now. I'm so glad I finally found what I was looking for and it turned out to be even better than what I had imagined. I'm in the zone! And so will you be when you spoon a big bite of tart, creamy and dreamy gooseberry fool into your mouth. Allegedly dating back to the 15th century, this dead simple treat is nobody's fool; or rather, anybody's. It's just a cooked puree of sweetened gooseberries folded into whipped cream. Chilled and served in a wine glass or a coupe with a long spoon, it's among the most elegant desserts you can make without breaking a sweat.
Never seen a gooseberry? Look for them now at your farmers market. They are in the Ribes family, as are black currants. Quite tart, when sweetened up they become deliciously addictive, like rhubarb or lemon.
You must remove the tops and tails; an annoying task that's made for the nimble fingers of small children, who can be bribed with promises of creamy fool.
The River Cottage Preserves Handbook has a wonderful recipe for gooseberry chutney loaded with Indian spices like fenugreek and nigella. That with a piece of sharp cheese sounds like heaven to me.
Once the gooseberries are prepped and sliced in half, you cook them briefly with sugar to create a chunky puree.
Whip cream with some crème fraîche or sour cream and a little sugar; a bit of rose water or orange flower water is lovely but optional.
- — 1 teaspoon rose water or orange flower water, optional
- — 1/4 cup creme fraiche, or sour cream
- — 1/2 cup whipping cream, very cold
- — 3/4 cup organic cane sugar, divided
- — 3 cups gooseberries
Pull off tops and tails of gooseberries; halve berries lengthwise. In a heavy saucepan, cook berries and 1/2 cup sugar over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 5 minutes. As they simmer, mash berries to make a coarse puree. Remove from heat, cool and then refrigerate, covered, until cold; at least on hour, or overnight.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat heavy cream with creme fraiche until it holds soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until mixture holds very stiff peaks. (Careful not to overbeat or it will separate!) Fold chilled puree into cream mixture and combine well. Chill again until very cold. Fool may be made 3 hours ahead.