17 July, 2008

July recipe: Gooseberry fool

Fruit fools involve combining a fruit puree with custard or whipped cream or both, and go back to at least the seventeenth century, if not earlier. Gooseberries are the first of the summer cooking fruits to come into season, and a gooseberry fool makes a delightful and easy summer dessert.

The recipe works equally well with green or red gooseberries, or a mixture.

Gooseberry fool

8 oz (approx 250 g) gooseberries
2 oz (approx 50 g) sugar
1 oz (approx 25 g) butter
5 fl.oz (approx 140ml) double cream

Wash the gooseberries.
Top and tail them (snip off the stalks and the flower ends from the top and bottom of each berry).
Put the gooseberries in a saucepan with the sugar and butter.
Heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, then cover the pan and simmer for ten minutes or so until the fruit is soft and starting to break up.
Remove from the heat and crush the fruit with a wooden spoon. You can puree it in a food processor if you like, but I never do. If you don’t like pips, you can sieve the puree, but I never do this either.
Leave to cool.
Taste the gooseberry pulp and add more sugar if wished.
Whip the double cream until stiff.
Stir the gooseberry pulp into the cream.
Divide between four glasses and chill in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight before serving.

If you like larger portions, divide the mixture between two or three glasses instead of four.


Bernita said...

I have always loved the name!

Rick said...

Naturally! But does anyone know why it is called a fool? I'd never heard of it before!

Carla said...

The Concise Oxford Dictionary says that "fool" in its usual sense is Middle English, from Old French, from Latin 'follis' meaning 'bellows or empty-headed person'.

For "fool" in the dessert sense it says, rather tentatively, "16th century, perhaps from preceding".

So, anyone's guess as to exactly why the dessert should have acquired its name. How about some connection with the air you have to whip into the cream to make the dessert - akin to the modern term "airhead"? Any better ideas, anyone?

Meghan said...


And the name is hilarious. The best part is though, it seems so easy to make!

Carla said...

Meghan - do you suppose that's another possible reason for the name, that any fool could make it? :-) It's certainly very easy, especially if you don't bother sieving out the pips.