Trice the Fool (Gooseberry, Blackberry and Ginger Snap Fool)

Walking through the Kingston farmers’ market, we came across a stand with pink and green gooseberries, which I had never tried before. The stand-keeper (for lack of a better name) was kind enough to let me taste them. Both were delicious but the pink were a nice blend of sweet and tart so I bought a punnet and then went rummaging around for a way to use them. Lo and behold we discovered the “gooseberry fool”, which was a marvelous sounding dessert as long as our 3-year-old did not take to heart the expression “fool on me? no, fool on you!

I ended up referencing two sources (this vegan recipe I found through FoodBuzz, and this recipe I found on Epicurious), but not exactly following either. The results were great, however.

Recipe (enough for 4 servings):
1 punnet of pink gooseberries
1/2 punnet of blackberries
2/3 cup of heavy cream
3 big tablespoons of creme fraiche
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
ginger snap cookies
fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp unsalted butter

1. Remove the tops and tails of the gooseberries (you can see them in the top photo) using scissors or pinching with your fingernails. Then cut the berries in half. In a medium saucepan, cook the gooseberries and blackberries over medium-low heat with 1/4 cup of sugar, stirring constantly and then mashing up the berries thoroughly with a fork once they began to soften. Cook this puree for about 7 or 8 minutes, then remove from heat to cool in a small bowl, then cover and place in the fridge to chill.

2. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream and creme fraiche until slightly stiff, then add the 1/4 cup superfine sugar and continue whipping until the mixture can hold stiff peaks (I used an electric beater to speed things up). Then fold in the berry puree.

3. Take a large handful of ginger snaps and pulse them in a food processor until you have smallish crumbs. Melt the 2 tbsp of butter and combine butter and crumbs in a bowl and stir around until well mixed together.

4. Take a big handful of mint leaves and loosely chop them up.

5. In your serving glass (or bowl), put down a layer of the “fool” (cream and berry mixture). Loosely scatter a thin layer of of chopped mint leaves. Then add a layer of the ginger snap crumbs. Repeat once more and garnish with some mint leaves.

Gooseberry Fool
The picture above shows a version without the layers of chopped mint leaves, since I tried it this way first and took the picture. I quickly decided that it needed more of a mint kick and the results proved out that theory. The blackberries brought out the incredible pink color.

P.S. I also just found an interesting version at Delia Online with natural yogurt that sounds delicious (hat tip to Foodycat for link to Delia).

Rhubarb Crumble

rhubarb crumble
Our neighbor has successfully fended the deer off her garden and accordingly bestowed an armful of rhubarb stalks on us the other day (yeah, twist my arm). So when I spotted a rhubarb recipe on Food Blogga, Triple Berry Rhubarb Crisp, I immediately sent it Lisl’s way since she is the crumble queen in this household. Part of the confusion over name comes from nationality issues — what Americans call a crisp, the Aussies and Brits call a crumble (the topping usually has oatmeal, brown sugar and butter, and sometimes nuts).

I was assigned the task of putting together the crisp topping. That is about as close as Lisl will let me get to baking, since I am normally unable to follow cooking directions without veering off into new directions (or over the cliff). We were missing shredded coconut, almonds, and ground ginger, but replaced the almonds with walnuts and the result still came out great.

Lisl also had to do an ingredient swap, as we discovered we did not have corn starch in the kitchen, so she used a very small amount of flour. The fruit filling ended up a little more runny than Lisl wanted, but that was purely an aesthetic issue — the taste was fabulous, and went perfectly with some vanilla ice cream.

I won’t elaborate on my own food experiment tonight. Let’s just say that surely even Richard Blais had disasters on his way to discovering great new flavor combinations! That’s what I’m going to tell myself anyway.