Is it too obvious that I’d be blogging about a dish called a “Fool” on April first? :P The name actually comes the French verb “fouler”, which means to mash or squeeze, referring to the way the fruit is prepared in the dish, but it could also refer to how ridiculously easy they are to make; practically foolproof, in fact.
Around since the Middle Ages, fools used to have a lot more ingredients, such as eggs, spices, wine, and/or liquor. Chefs these days tend to keep them simple, just a fruit puree folded into whipped cream. It’s one of those great desserts that feels rich but is actually not so bad, so long as you enjoy a reasonable portion of it. (And if you have leftovers, they’re amazing on some whole wheat waffles or pancakes in the morning!)
Please note that in the recipe, you need to make your own whipped cream. Of course, it’s pretty easy to obtain some store-bought whipped cream. I would beg you to avoid doing so. NOTHING matches the flavor and texture of real whipped cream made from scratch. While it may seem to be a good thought to cut down on saturated fat by buying the low or non-fat “whipped topping” in the freezer section of the grocery store, take a good look at the ingredients in that stuff. How easy are they to pronounce? And if anything says “partially hydrogenated”…that means trans fat. Ew. Thanks, but no thanks.
12 ounce bag of frozen IQF (individually quick frozen) strawberries (not the stuff in the sugary syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar or maple syrup
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream or whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (you can use regular sugar in a pinch)
Defrost the frozen berries for at least 8 hours. Using a food processor or a fork, mash the berries with the vanilla, 1/4 cup sugar or maple syrup, and pinch of salt. Refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour the heavy cream. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on the highest speed. (It’s a good idea to drape a kitchen towel over the mixer during this as the cream might spray all over your kitchen otherwise.) Peek in often, and when the cream starts to thicken a little bit, stop the mixer and sprinkle the powdered sugar over it. Re-drape your towel over the mixer and keep whisking until the cream is stiff and the sugar is completely integrated. Remove the whipped cream to a medium mixing bowl (preferably a metal one) and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Using a spatula, fold the berry puree into the whipped cream. The idea is to mix thoroughly but prevent it from becoming homogeneous; there should be streaks of cream and puree throughout. Portion into six dessert glasses and enjoy immediately, or up to four hours later. After that, it will still taste great, but might lose its airy structure.