Gooseberry Fools and Other Fruits

by Ragtimelil

Have you ever bought berries that were so sour that they puckered your mouth? I just had some blueberries that I couldn't eat. I solved the problem by making a Blueberry Fool.

I love the name “fool.” It’s not clear where the term came from. Some think it’s from the French word, fouler, meaning to crush.
A fruit fool is a traditional English dessert first mentioned in 1598. Gooseberries were the main fruit used and may date back to the 15th century.
When I had my house and garden, I had some gooseberry bushes and found that true to their reputation, they are mostly too sour to eat. I never got to make jelly with them, but I did enjoy several gooseberry fool desserts. A fool is simply stewed fruit that was stirred into custard. Today we use whipped cream.


fool

Some cooks don’t stew the fruit, but mix chopped fruit with the sugar and put in the refrigerator for an hour or more. Others use a blender or food processor. Whatever your style, I think you’ll find this dessert delicious.

The Traditional Recipe

A traditional recipe looks something like this.

  • 3 cups pink or green gooseberries (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream

 

Some recipes also add

 1/4 cup crème fraîche

1 Tbsp. orange or berry liqueur

Crushed graham crackers for a topping

 

Rinse the berries. Remove the stems and cut berries in half. Cook in a skillet with the sugar until a syrup forms. Mash the berries to make a puree. Set in the refrigerator to cool. Whip the cream until stiff. Add remaining ingredients and fold until well mixed. The dessert may be made ahead and chilled for up to three hours

For a fancy touch, serve in wine glasses. . You can serve it with crushed graham crackers and a few berries on top. It's also good with homemade shortbread. 

Modification

blueberry foolFools can be made with other fruit, including raspberries, strawberries and even apples as well. I was just given some blueberries that were so sour that they made me shiver. I used them to make the syrup with the sugar. I didn't have any cream but I did have some soy milk that had been given to me. I found the soy milk is very sweet so I just used that instead of the cream. It was more of a cold fruit soup rather than a real fool but it was good, I used up the sour berries and got a bit of vitamins too.

Next I'm trying out those sliced apples that have been languishing in the refrigerator.

Updated: 10/09/2012, Ragtimelil
 
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Ragtimelil on 02/10/2013

Very sour. I can only eat the purple ones but not many of them turn. They are an interesting berry though.

AngelaJohnson on 02/10/2013

My grandparents in Illinois had gooseberry bushes and we kids picked them off and ate them. Of course, little kids can eat anything, but I do remember them being sour.

Ragtimelil on 10/26/2012

It's a thorny problem. hahahaha

katiem2 on 10/26/2012

Hmmm gooseberries have me intrigued, I'll have to keep this on the back burner of my mind for any opportunities that arise to acquire some gooseberries. Now, I'll know what they are and what to do with them :)K

Ragtimelil on 10/14/2012

Let me know how it comes out. I haven't seen any gooseberries down here but there are a lot of blueberries.

koffeeklatchgals on 10/14/2012

I've never tried gooseberries. Your recipe looks so good I think I'll have to try them and it.

Ragtimelil on 10/12/2012

I used the green gooseberries. I hardly ever found ripe ones and when I did, oops, it went into my mouth! I just did it with apples. It was ok but I like the berries better. Let me know what you think!

2uesday on 10/12/2012

My gooseberry bushes never have enough berries ripe at the same time to make something like this. Maybe next year there will be a glut and I can try it. The gooseberry bushes are not nice to prune back as the thorns are nasty . Even picking the fruit needs to be tackled with caution. I might try this with apples as they are in season at the moment.

Ragtimelil on 10/10/2012

Ha. I didn't know that. I only found out about it when I was trying to find something to do with gooseberries.

JohnTannahill on 10/10/2012

I think Fruit Fool was a bit of a craze in the 70s in the UK. I didn't realise it was a revived classic back then. I've only occasionally seen it since.

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