Sunday, January 14, 2007

Gooseberry Fool

Despite our extremely chilly weather here in California, a visit from my brother and a lucky find at our local high-end grocery store, made a dreamy summer English dessert a reality today.

There's really nothing like Gooseberry Fool. A very simple dessert to prepare, assuming you can find the gooseberries, this incredible combination of tart fruit, sugar, and whipped cream creates a bold and unique fresh flavor that makes this my favorite dessert. I even listed this dish as one of my Five Foods Everyone Should Try.

In our childhood garden in England, we had two or three thorny gooseberry bushes at the end of the garden, behind the vegetable patch. I remember picking them in the sweltering sun (!) and planting a sunflower that grew to at least 6 ft nearby ( tall was I then? was very, very tall anyhow).

The gooseberries I used today were about half the size I remember, organic gooseberries from Chile:

My brother and I mused on what made the Chilean growers decide to grow gooseberries of all things. It certainly seemed odd, but today we were both grateful. However, I fear Gooseberry Fool may be particularly delicious to the English taste buds. My brother and I couldn't get enough of this creamy dessert, but my daughter Sweetpea didn't like it (although she scoffed half the Quality Street Chocolates my brother brought) and hubby's comment on a small spoonful (all I was willing to give up anyway) was "different".

Well, maybe we're mad Englishfolk, but, if you are lucky enough to find gooseberries at your local grocery store, I hope you'll try this dreamy English dessert.

Gooseberry Fool

6 oz gooseberries
1/4 cup+ sugar
1/2 cup+ heavy whipping cream

Top and tail the gooseberries and place in a small saucepan. Cover with water and add sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the berries are tender. Drain off half of the liquid.

Pass the cooked gooseberries and remaining liquid through a sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to remove the seeds. Taste the liquidy mix and add more sugar if particularly tart. Cool.

Beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff. Combine the gooseberries with the cream, reserving a spoonful of gooseberry. Serve in a pretty glass dish and top with reserved gooseberry.


Blogger Bron said...

Yum! Sadly my little gooseberry bush is still very young and the sum total of my yield this year was 5 gooseberries!
I've never had gooseberry fool, my Mum always made them into a pie.
However your post has inspired me to make a fool of some sort, perhaps a rhubarb and raspberry one, as I've manage a much better yield with them!
Thanks for your comment over at mine, ;-)
Happy New Year to you and yours also!!

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Tanna said...

I love how we foodies make the past the present with food. The gooseberries are beautiful.
Different was kind. eh, what do they know.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gooseberry Fool is just one of the best things about an English summer. Bear in mind ... I am a biased Brit

It looks gorgeous Katherine


3:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't need to be British to LOVE Gooseberry Fool! I even ate them raw...but then I chewed rhubarb stalks!!

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mouth is puckering, just thinking about gooseberries... we used to have a bush in our yard as well.. but there is something addictive.. because i would eat them until I got a stomach ache..

9:05 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Bron - I love rhubarb fool too!

Tanna -exactly!

Dianne - I can't tell you how long its been since I enjoyed this dish. Made it better than ever!

Anon - LOL!

Melody - they are pretty darn tart! But with sugar and cream - ahhhh!

9:26 AM  
Blogger Lydia said...

This is completely new to me! I know that gooseberries grow here in Rhode Island in the summertime, but I never see them in markets in winter. I'll wait until it's "the season" to try this recipe. Thanks!

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gooseberry Fool looks great!
I used to eat lot of Gooseberries in India but I haven't seen one since I left India in 1989!!Enjoy.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought some gooseberries last week - we ate them plain, they weren't that tart. But now I know what to do with them!

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I've been to a pick-your-own farm in Esher - (no don't laugh) - just South of London, and picked gooseberries (also strawberries, raspberries, broad beans and carrots) to make, as I do every year at this time, gooseberry fool for the Father's Day London to Brighton bike ride - to raise money for heart research - which is traditionally followed in our household by a slap-up lunch/dinner, including fresh fruit, pavlovas and fool (not sure what the Heart Foundation think about this bit). Loads of friends, loads of food, loads of wine, loads of laughs. And gooseberry fool? An essential part of it. Can't tell you how much I missed it when I lived in the States for 10 years, though we loved a lot of what was on offer. Well done promoting a quintessential part of the English summer!

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Carol said...

On a dog walk yesterday in northern France I spied what I thought were gooseberries on a bush, just growing in the wild among other scrub and bushes! A closer look confirmed this, so I set about looking for other bushes - and finally made a harvest of about 500 gms! The word 'fool' came to mind from my childhood in England, and surfing the net I found your recipe (nothing in French at all, nobody seems to cook or eat them here!). Thanks a million for taking me back
sixty or more years to a childhood delight. We're having 'gooseberry fool' for supper of course!

3:18 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Carol - thanks so much for sharing your story! I do hope you enjoyed it!

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Canadian said...

I made this recipe the other day and I was a bit disappointed. I think that really the gooseberry mixture should be cooled to room temperature before blending with the whipped cream. As it was it sort of made the cream melt and the texture was all wrong. I am going to try again with the rest of the gooseberries.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

canadian - yes, it should be cooled before blending with the cream. I will add this to the recipe so it is clear. Thanks for your input.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Canadian said...

Thanks! I made it again and it was much better. Now I am all out of gooseberries. :(

9:29 AM  
Blogger LisaZ said...

My gooseberries are already red-ripe! I was waiting for that before I looked up this recipe. Can I still make fool with ripe ones? I hope so! I'll try it tonight anyway...

BTW, I am in Minnesota, USA and this is my first year with a gooseberry bush which a neighbor gave us. I'm of English ancestry so have been looking forward to trying this. I googled and found your blog. Thanks!

12:52 PM  
Anonymous website design New York City said...

nice post

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey guys :)
i've just found a carrybag full to the brim of gooseberries in my mums frezzer not know what to do i looked on the internet :) and i came across your page :) so guess what i'm having to night :)
cheers Emma x

11:17 AM  
Blogger Mary in France said...

I tried this today and thought it was lovely despite the fact that I'm not English. Thank you!

6:50 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for the recipe, Catherine. I haven't been able to find gooseberries, but have made this a couple of times with mixed berries. Very good!

11:56 AM  
Blogger mpaterso said...

thanks for the recipe. I've always made it but thought I'd check. For Carol (and anyone else) here's some French recipes for gooseberries.


6:28 PM  
Anonymous Graham in Ontario said...

My two gooseberry bushes have yielded over 20lbs of them this year; I pick them when slightly pink.
So far I have jars of stewed goosegogs, jams and amazing chutney.
It's my youngest son's birthday tomorrow (25) and he is going to be fed a fine fool for dessert.
Your recipe is exactly the same as mine and is obviously the standard; I just wish that I could get fresh Devon cream instead of the stuff in a carton, then it would be perfect.
Thanks for sharing the recipe, it truly is an amazing dessert.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to add to your recipe that it's absolutely imperative to let the berry juice chill--otherwise if it's too warm & you mix it with the whipped cream it will turn everything to liquid. Chill the berry juice for at least 20 minutes!!!

5:47 PM  

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