July 22, 2013

Strawberry Fool

Some foods are just made for one another. Take seafood and lemon, beef and red wine, pretzels and mustard, chocolate and coffee, tomatoes and basil, even peanut butter and jelly. To those immortal pairs I add strawberries and cream, a combination I come back to time and time again.

You can't run out of ways to enjoy these flavors. It can be as simple as a bowl of fresh strawberries topped with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. You can bake a batch of biscuits and create a strawberry shortcake. Or make a vanilla cheesecake and top with strawberry glaze. Strawberry ice cream and milkshakes do the job too. 

Recently, I learned a new twist on this classic combination. It's a British dessert called strawberry fool. Yes, the name's a bit weird, but it could be worse — Toad in the Hole, Bangers and Mash or Spotted Dick, anyone?

Strawberry fool is similar to strawberry mousse, but it's made without eggs. You simply fold pureed strawberries into sweetened whipped cream. That's it. Just strawberries and cream. A perfect combination.

Finely chop strawberries.

Toss with sugar.

Let strawberries sit until they give up their juices.

Puree half of the strawberries and their juice.

Return puree to the bowl with the chopped strawberries. (You want to leave some chopped strawberries as is to give the dessert some texture.)

Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks.

Gently fold the berries into the cream...

... until combined but not overmixed.


Strawberry Fool

Recipe by Mark Bittman

1 pint strawberries
1/2 cup sugar, divided (adjust depending on the sweetness of your strawberries)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

1.    Hull strawberries, then wash them and chop into 1/2-inch pieces.

2.    Toss with half the sugar. Wait 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they give up their juices.

3.    Place half the strawberries and all the juice in a blender. Puree. Pour puree back in bowl with chopped strawberries.

4.    Whip the cream with remaining sugar and vanilla until cream is stiff and holds peaks easily. Gently fold berries and cream together.

5.    Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to two hours.

Serves 4

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