We’re switching gears a bit from all those juicy fragrant peaches, plums, apricots, and their stone fruit companions, and we’re putting berries under the magnifying glass… yet, my fruit bowl is still overflowing with peaches and plums as I’m typing these words, and they are winking at me for attention. If I’m not happily munching some of these peaches in the next ten minutes, they’ll most likely end up in yet another baked concoction in the next day or two. Have I mentioned that I’ve been baking a lot with stone fruits, lately? Yep… I think I have.
So, bring out the berries; I’m in the mood for a fool… a berry fool that is. The initial recipe, which got me so inspired, asked for blueberries. Well, tough luck! Blueberries don’t really sing to me; we don’t get along as we should. For me they’re sort of… faint. They just need that extra zing and enthusiasm and pop of color from other berries to really shine. On their own, blueberries fall short; in the company of other bold luscious berries, they flourish like there’s no tomorrow… and then we get along just fine.
And so, the original blueberry fool became a berry fool with the generous help of some strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries; pretty much any berry I could get my hands on. Of course, I didn’t leave out the blueberries. It would have been a crime! So, into the mix they went. Still, I desperately wanted to boost the party with some currants, but these glossy red little suckers are so scarce around here that if you find them they are worth an absolute fortune.
With or without currants this berry fool impressed me. It turned out to be a light and frothy mousse flecked with tart bright berries. It was like air. Dunk a crackly pecan shortbread cookie in the fool and you’ll get that much deserved crunchy bite; a hefty dollop of toasted sliced almonds, or walnuts, or hazelnuts or whatever you have lounging around will also do the trick. With this berry fool, you can relish a cool dessert, tonight; put an extra one in the fridge and tomorrow morning you’ll enjoy an invigorating breakfast!
Adapted from Food Network Magazine (July / August 2011)
Serves: 4 servings
· 2 cups mixed berries
· ¼ cup granulated sugar
· Pinch of salt
· Zest and juice from 1 lemon
· 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
· 1 Tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· Shortbread cookies or toasted sliced almonds or hazelnuts etc., for serving
1. Make the berry sauce: Heat 1 ½ cups berries, the granulated sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until bubbling. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the grated lemon zest and juice. Remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining ½ cup berries and let mixture cool to room temperature.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until soft peaks begin to form. Gently fold all but 1/3 cup of the berry sauce into the whipped cream. Divide among glasses and top with the remaining berry sauce. Serve with cookies or sprinkle the toasted sliced almonds on top.
Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)