What is….Fool?

This year, Mardi Gras and Carnivale culminated February 12, Fat Tuesday. Holiday celebrations in New Orleans feature the fleur de lis symbol, and lots of gold, green and purple. There’s king cakes and hurricane cocktails to be savored alongside Big Easy staples like gumbo and beignets.

But wouldn’t fool be a great, not to mention aptly named, addition?

Fool is a dessert from the Elizabethan era. The ingredients listed in the linked recipe are whipped cream, nutmeg, sugar and egg yolks. I have to wonder if they meant egg whites, which with a dash of cream of tartar, make meringue.

Anyway, fool as a dessert dates back to 1590-1600; it’s derived from the French “fouler”–to mash, crush up, pulverize. In the original dish, native gooseberries were used. Here in the US, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are the most popular alternatives.

Since they are a rich plum purple color with deep purple juice, I chose blackberries for my first foray into a Fool.

It’s some effort, but I wouldn’t say it’s ‘a fool’s errand’.

Here are some photos:


Puree and 1 tablespoon sugar, sauteed. Once it’s a little syrupy, it is removed from the stove. The juice and berries are poured into a strainer so only juice and mashed fruit gets through. The seeds and thicker pulp are discarded. To add more edge to a fool dessert, you can use berry liqueurs of your choosing in the berry sauté.

Cream for Fool

In a separate bowl, mix heavy cream, whipped with a dash of cream of tartar, clear imitation vanilla, and a tablespoon of sugar. Put the bowl in the freezer for about 30 minutes so the cream thickens up.

Fool 3

This is the finished product, layered into a goblet to be refrigerated overnight.

To incorporate New Orleans’ colors, I used kiwi fruit and golden raisins to go with the blackberries’ purple.

Glass, crystal, or acrylic drinkware really show off this dessert’s contrasting colors. If you don’t have fancy stemware or ice cream sundae glasses, small bowls or even beer steins would work.

Fool 1

Laissez le bon temps rouler!


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