Pity the (Cherry) Fool

Can I bend your ear to tell you about the simplest, most foolproof (pun intended) dessert ever?

The fool is a British dessert that blends fresh whipped cream with stewed, almost jammy fruit. It sounds too simple to be true. So, in a nod to our British Olympiad hosts, and partially because it’s fun to say “tonight’s dessert is a fool,” I made a fool for dinner party dessert last week.

(I really made it out of necessity. I had a bag of cherries that needed to be used up. But no matter!) Cherries. Bourbon. Cream. This, this was my vision!

Yes indeed, thou wouldst make a good fool  methought to myself (King Lear, I.IV.912). You can picture me saying that in my most ominous  voice while tapping my fingers together and snapping latex gloves, preparing for cherry surgery. Because in the process of making this fool, I learned a neat trick: pastry tips make effective cherry pitters! This is good news for a cherry pitter-less person such as myself, and particularly to people (like me) who don’t like to accumulate one-use gadgets in the kitchen.

(That’s not my hand. I got the photo and tutorial here).

Just remove the cherry stem, place the cherry on top of your pastry tip stem side down, press gently, and voila – pit-less cherry! (Be sure to empty the pastry tip from the other end once in a while. There’s only so many pits that can fit up under there!)

Cherry-Bourbon Fool

– generous 4 cups ripe cherries, pitted
– 1/4 cup sugar
– good squeeze of lemon juice
– splash of bourbon

1. Combine cherries, sugar, and lemon juice in saucepan over medium-high heat. Cherries will start to melt, release their juices and become “stewy.” Once mixture has come to a boil, mash fruit and cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Add the bourbon at the very end over low heat, and stir to combine and burn off some of the sting of the alcohol. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1/2 cup powdered sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2. Whip the cream using stand mixer with whisk attachment (or use hand mixer, or a good old-fashioned whisk) until it holds stiff peaks and is almost “chunky fluffy” (I whip mine a little more than necessary because I know it will deflate a little bit in Step 3).

3. Add the cherry mixture to the whipped cream, a little at a time. Fold together gently. I think the goal is to maintain distinct sections of fruit and white cream (as opposed to making a pink mixture), but it’s up to you.

That’s it. Pour into individual serving dishes, top with a sprinkle of cocoa powder, if you wish, and serve. If not serving right away, store in the freezer for about an hour or while you eat your dinner. Note: Ours were in the freezer for almost 2 hours and they came out more like ice cream! Much different texture than when it was freshly made, but still delicious. Again, it’s up to you. Alex and I prefer the creamy, un-frozen version.

Wowee! Can you imagine all the possibilities here? Basically any fruit can become the fool’s folly! Blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, mixed berry, rhubarb, elderberry, and on and on! And, if you’re in a real pinch, I’m quite positive you could blend straight-up jam with fresh whipped cream, and achieve a similar effect. Easy, elegant, delicious.

Wise man say only fools rush in. I say, the only foolish thing to do when presented with a cherry-bourbon fool is not rush in. What flavor fool would you prefer? Do tell.

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2 thoughts on “Pity the (Cherry) Fool

  1. athegallant says:

    Lovely ! Have you guys ever tried trifle? Basically the same premise, but you add a layer of sponge (English: cake) at the bottom. My favourite is sherry trifle – splash of sherry, gooey cake, vanilla custard, fruit & cream.

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