Today is my blog’s third anniversary. I have so enjoyed posting my favorite holiday and seasonal produce recipes. There is still much to write about and I look forward to more years of sharing our food and garden updates.
The garden is thriving. The peas are now finished and I picked the last of the fava beans yesterday. The artichokes were sweet and delicious this season. We had about a dozen from just one plant. We picked the first sweet eggplants and some Romano and purple beans and lots of raspberries. We planted a start of Finnish Hinnomaki red gooseberries from a neighbor’s yard about 5 years ago, along with a red currant. Those starts are now thriving plants. We picked at least a gallon of red currants that I will use for jelly and, for the first time, we got enough red gooseberries to make the English summer dessert, gooseberry fool. For those unfamiliar with fool, it is a dish made with cooked fruit folded into fresh whipped cream and sometimes custard. Since custard and fresh fruit are among my favorite desserts I thought I would share my version of fool with you.
There are three steps to this recipe, but they can be undertaken separately. You can cook the fruit a day or two before you need it, and do the same with the custard, which is terrific on its own and can be used with folded-in whipped cream for other desserts in addition to this fool.
It seems that red gooseberries have slightly tougher skins than green varieties. Our garden raspberries are delicious but a bit seedy, so for this recipe I cooked the fruit and then strained it, using the fruit syrup to flavor the custard and cream. If you do not have access to gooseberries you can make this fool with raspberries alone.
Red Gooseberry and Raspberry Fool
5 large egg yolks
1/2 c. vanilla granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
pinch of kosher salt
2 c. whole milk or 1-3/4 c. 2% milk and 1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2-1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl combine egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk to mix. Set aside. Pour milk into a saucepan, then scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk and add the bean. Bring to a simmer, then slowly whisk about 3/4 c. of the hot milk mixture into the eggs. Return the egg mixture to the heated milk in the saucepan and gently whisk on low heat until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and pour custard in a bowl to cool, keeping the vanilla bean in the custard as it cools to add flavor. Add vanilla extract. Cover the surface of the custard directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.
1-1/2 c. red gooseberries, trimmed
1/2 c. fresh raspberries, rinsed
1/2 c. sugar
Place fruit and sugar in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat until the mixture boils. Use a fork to mash the gooseberries. Continue boiling for 10 minutes, stirring often until the mixture is thick and jam-like. Strain the mixture over a glass measuring cup. You should have 2/3 cup of fruit syrup. Let cool to room temperature.
3/4 c. heavy cream
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
Whip cream and sugar together until the cream forms soft, thick peaks.
To Assemble: Begin by removing the vanilla bean from the cooled custard. Mix the custard with a spoon to lighten. Gently fold one quarter of the whipped cream into the custard, then add the remaining cream, folding carefully but not completely. Slowly add the fruit syrup, folding gently, until the syrup and whipped cream are fully incorporated. Spoon into individual ramekins or a medium-size serving bowl. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with berries if desired. Serves 4-6.