Last month, our raspberry canes were producing at an amazing, even ridiculous rate. We harvested so many, so quickly, that our usual methods of eating them up—raw by the handful or sprinkled on salads—weren't nearly enough to dispose of them. The obvious thing to do was to put some of them into a dessert, such as a berry crisp—but the weather was so hot that baking didn't seem very appealing.
So I went rummaging through our recipe file in search of a no-bake dessert you could make with fresh fruit, and I came across this little gem from Mark Bittman: Strawberry Fool. A fool is an amazingly simple fruit dessert that you make by folding together sweetened, crushed fruit and whipped cream. Bittman fancies it up a little by pureeing half the fruit and leaving the other half in small chunks, which he says helps it keep its texture better if you need to store it for several hours in the fridge. However, since our plan was to whip it up and gobble it down right away, we decided to skip all that and make our Raspberry Fool the easy way.
Brian halved the recipe and made a slight additional modification to it, using powdered sugar in the whipped cream because it dissolves better. So here's his final version:
RASPBERRY FOOLThis came out a pretty pink shade that was a bit hard to capture in a photograph, but still more impressive was the taste and texture: sweet yet tart, creamy and fruity, and light as a cloud. It was heavenly. If this isn't what angels eat, it must be because they can't grow fresh raspberries up there.
Dump 1 cup fresh raspberries in a small bowl with 3 Tbsp. sugar. Mix together, chopping up the berries with the side of a spoon until they're sort of half-mashed. Put the bowl in the fridge to chill for about half an hour.
In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. Whip this mixture, either by hand or with an electric mixer, until stiff peaks form.
Fold in the chilled raspberry mixture, dish out into two small cups or bowls, and serve.
As for whether we'd make it again, that's an easy one: We already have, several times. Amusingly, when we first bought the cream for this, we were a little disgruntled to discover that our local supermarket didn't sell it in cups, only in pints. Since we were only planning on making a half recipe, we figured we'd need to figure out some way of using up an extra cup and a half of cream. But as it turned out, that was no problem at all; we simply made the same dessert three more times over the next two weeks.
Unfortunately, the flood of raspberries we were getting last month has slowed to a trickle, at least for now. So we'll have to put this recipe away for a while, though we'll probably break it out again when our fall crop of raspberries comes in. But even if we decide at that point to go with a warm dessert more suitable for chilly weather, we'll certainly be making this again next summer, and every summer so long as our raspberries keep producing.
Plus, now that we've learned the ways of foolery, we'll probably be trying this dessert with other types of fruit as well. Bittman says it works with any type of soft fruit, so we could try it with other kinds of berries, peaches, or even plums, if we manage to get any off our trees. (So far, our attempts at pruning and spraying haven't been too successful at warding off the brown rot, so it's not looking promising.) I even found a couple of recipes for rhubarb fool on the BBC Recipes site, and we've certainly got no shortage of that. In fact, since our rhubarb starts producing so early, it might prove just the thing for a grain-free dessert next Passover.