Strawberry Fool – a sweet treat for your Valentine

Valentine’s Day has an interesting history that dates back centuries. Many stories exist that are linked to this famous holiday, although it’s thought the firm attachment to romantic love began around the time of Geoffrey Chaucer in the fourteenth century. Chaucer wrote a poem to celebrate the engagement of England’s Richard II.

I suppose I have always thought of Valentine’s Day as a celebration of young and new love. When my husband and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day we were living in London at the time. He booked us on the Eurostar and whisked me off to Paris for the weekend.

Well . . . how do you top that?

These days our Valentine’s Day celebrations are little less extravagant. Probably doesn’t help that flitting to Paris for the weekend isn’t quite so easy from New Zealand.

But if we’re staying in I like to cook a special dinner. And there absolutely has to be dessert. I think a romantic dinner would not be complete if it was bereft of a sweet ending.

A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for Lemon Posset, a classic English dessert that is ridiculously easy to make and comprises only three ingredients. It seemed to hit just the right note with my fellow bloggers and readers.

So I’m going to offer you another classic English dessert that is just as easy and the perfect way to end a romantic dinner with your loved one. A squeeze of lemon juice pushes the number of ingredients to four and sadly I can’t offer any cool kitchen chemistry with this one. But it is wonderfully decadent considering its making is a matter of minutes.

A fool was traditionally made by folding stewed fruit into a sweet custard. But the modern makeover of this dessert replaces the custard with whipped cream. I also prefer fresh fruit to the stewed fruit. However, if you’re making a fool in the depths of winter when fresh berries are not in season then stewed fruit would be a great option.

Fortunately we’re in the height of summer here in New Zealand and fresh berries are plentiful. You’ll see by the Berry Mascarpone Tart I posted last week that I just can’t get enough of summer berries at the moment. And this fool is a perfect way to celebrate them.

I’ve gone with Strawberry Fool because I consider strawberries and cream to be one of the food world’s most perfect combinations. But it also happens to hit the right note for Valentine’s Day. This is definitely a dessert that says ‘I love you’. And with Valentine’s Day being mid-week this year you want to be making a dessert that can be put together quickly, especially if you’re running in the door from work.

A couple of quick notes before I begin.

For this dessert I used our pure New Zealand cream but double cream would be perfect for this fool.

My own little twist is to reduce the juice from the sieved strawberries to a syrup that can be stirred through or drizzled over the top of the fool. It’s a lovely finishing touch but purely optional.

I’ve noted it serves 2-3. I did dish up two rather greedy portions for my husband and I but it does depend what sized glass you use and the portion size that suits you. And, of course, it’s easily doubled, tripled to feed more people.

But I do think this marvellous dessert deserves to be served in a beautiful glass.

Strawberry Fool

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 250g fresh strawberries
  • 250ml cream (or double cream)
  • 20-50g icing sugar, sieved
  • Half a lemon

Method

  1. Hull the strawberries or simply slice off the top. Roughly chop them and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Using a potato masher, mash the strawberries until they are almost pureed but with a few small lumps remaining. Place the strawberries in a sieve and press down on the fruit to remove the excess juice.
  3. I like to put the excess juice into a pot with a pinch of icing sugar and simmer it rapidly until it thickens to a lovely syrup. As I said above, this is optional but it is a lovely addition to the fool.
  4. Whip the cream until it is soft and billowy – be very careful here not to over whip but you also don’t want the cream too loose. Once whipped, add the strawberries and gently fold through the cream until the fruit and cream are perfectly combined.
  5. Now for the icing sugar. The reason I’ve given a measure of 20-50g is because the sweetness of this dessert is a personal thing. I don’t like it too sweet but others will prefer more sugar. I suggest you add the sieved sugar a spoonful at a time and keep tasting until you’re happy with the sweetness.
  6. Take your half lemon and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Have another taste. I like a couple of good squeezes of lemon but, once again, it’s to personal taste. Trust me, you’ll know when it’s perfect.
  7. Spoon this gorgeous strawberry cream into glasses and garnish with fresh strawberries. If you’ve made the syrup you can then spoon over the top.

It’s a beautiful thing. Enjoy!

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28 Comments

  1. annika says:

    Looks lovely! I`m counting the days til we get our first harvest of strawberries! Tell me Tracey, what is the percentage of fat in the cream that you`ve used? What about double cream? I couldn`t find double cream here for making the posset, I had to use 35% cream aka whipping cream… it still set fine but I am wondering if it would be firmer with a higher fat content.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Annika. And by the time you’re getting your first strawberry harvest our season of the berries will be long gone! So funny. Now, the cream. Yes, you’re correct. Double cream has a higher fat percentage – 48%. I do think it gives the posset a firmer set. The pure New Zealand cream that I used for the strawberry fool is 37% fat content and is fine for whipping. In the UK double cream is widely available and we are only just getting it now in NZ. Any chance of you finding something similar in Montreal?

      Liked by 1 person

      • annika says:

        48%!!! I looked at the shops close to home when I made lemon posset the first time and could not find anything higher than 35% which we call cooking or whipping cream here. There is a few specialty cheese and dairy place that comes to mind that I could check out but it is further away. I`ll keep you posted! I am really curious to try your recipes with 48% now!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Mascarpone Cream with Morello Cherries and Amaretti | Tracey O'Brien

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