Gooseberry Fool

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Innocent-looking gooseberries--they resemble grapes in size and shape--lend spiky flavor to puddings and jam, but the classic way to serve them is in a fool (thatís a dessert of thick, chilled fruit sauce swirled with whipped cream and served in a stemmed glass or dish). The contrast of tart and sweet, light and rich, velvety-smooth and textured with teeny seeds is simply stellar.

When I tested this recipe I used two kinds of summer-ripened gooseberries purchased at my local farmersí market: Henemoke yellow, which are large, pale green with pronounced stripes and sweet-tart in taste; and smaller, sweeter Henemoke red, with a deep dusty rose color and paler green vertical strips. But you can use either, both, or another variety and adjust the tartness by adding sugar to taste.



1. Pinch off and discard the tops and tails of the gooseberries. Rinse the berries and place in saucepan. Add 1 cup sugar, barely cover the berries with water, and gently stir to combine. Bring to simmer and cook gently until berries are tender, about 10 minutes. Pour off three-quarters of the liquid (reserve this for another useósee Note below for suggestions). Puree the berries with an immersion blender or food processor. Taste itóthe sauce should be tart, but if itís super tart add up to another 1/4 cup of sugar. Transfer it to a large bowl and let it cool, then cover and chill it thoroughly.

2. Chill a large stainless steel bowl and electric beaters. Whip the cream, first on medium speed for a couple of minutes, then on high until mixture begins to thicken. When itís more solid than liquid, gradually add 1/4 cup sugar as you continue to beat the cream. Add the vanilla and continue beating until firm peaks form.

3. Stir a large dollop of the whipped cream into the chilled gooseberry sauce. Fold in the remaining whipped creamóbut not thoroughly; leave some streaks of cream in the mixture.

4. Serve immediately or cover and keep it chilled until ready to serve. Portion the fool into fancy serving glasses or cups.

Note: Youíll have some flavorful liquid leftovers with this recipe; cool it down and add it to smoothies, lemonade, iced tea, white wine spritzers, etc.

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