The Simplest Summer Berry Dessert Ever

Blueberry Fool

Blueberry Fool

Except, maybe, for berries in a bowl, sprinkled with sugar, with cream added to taste.

I’ve always called this a fool, a dish that has been around for centuries with lots of variations, some involving a custard-like mixture added to cooked fruit. I’ve heard it called mousse, also, but it doesn’t need eggs.

Essentially, one needs only to make a puree out of fresh fruit, whip some cream sweetened to taste, fold the puree into the cream, and chill.

Depending on your berries, you might want to heat them a little to soften them—especially hard ones like blueberries—or at least, mash them well, or puree them in a food processor, then strain them through a sieve to keep out the seeds. Blackberries really need that treatment, and raspberries benefit from it.

How you season them really depend on you. I like nutmeg with blueberries, nothing with raspberries, and a little cinnamon with blackberries. A squeeze of lemon juice helps, and sweeten it all to taste. The color of the dessert is always gorgeous, so if you have a glass dish, use that, or put the mixture into a pretty drinking glass, even a wine glass.

Roughly, a ratio of one part berry puree to one part of cream works pretty well, but don’t get too wound up about it, then beat the cream which expands it some. A little more puree or a little more cream will make hardly any difference.

Looking for….Zucchini Cookies. I’ve zuke cake recipes by the score, and I’d love a tried and true (preferably by one of you) recipe for cookies made with our favorite overgrown summer vegetable. Can anyone help?

Berry Fool
1 cup of berries, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or less to taste
Sugar to taste
Spice to taste
1 cup of whipping cream

Simmer the berries briefly just until the juice begins to run, or soften them in the microwave. Strain them through a sieve or food mill to remove most of the seeds. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and spice and mix well. Beat the whipping cream until it forms peaks, and then gently fold the berry puree into the cream. Put in serving glasses, and chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Makes three to four servings.

Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.