On this fateful Friday, the first day of April, I have an important announcement to make. Famous Fridays is done! Over! Finished! Kaput!!! Aw...I'm just kidding! Would I do that to you?!! There are so many great chefs out there to still explore! It's just a little bit of April foolery fun!! And while we're on the subject, and yes, I'm probably setting myself up here, what makes a fool? Now if you're 8 and 10 year old brothers, you'd probably be pointing your fingers at each other which would ultimately result in some sort of tackling and tears, but if we're talking fools in the kitchen (other than myself) then we're talking about an easy fruit and whipped cream pudding-like dessert. So today for this very un-famous Famous Fridays, we'll be talking fools, Strawberry Fools, to be specific and you'd be a fool not to make this scrumptious and classic dessert! Happy Strawberry April Fool's Day!
Is April Fool's a big deal to you? I have to admit that I generally forget that it's even happening, but I do have one "out there" April Fool's joke that surprisingly involves my grandparents. When I was 8 and my sisters were 5 they took us on a trip to Disneyworld sans parents and while we were driving there, told us they had some big news for us: that my grandma was having a baby! Needless to say we were surprised, but like all kids, kind of trusting. Add to that that I knew my grandma was only 56 and had just read in the Guinness Book of World Records that the oldest woman recorded to have given birth, was 58--a fact I lost no time in imparting to my sisters, so we really believed that it was possible. In no time at all, we were elated--just think we'd have an aunt or uncle that was younger than us and our mom would finally have a sibling! You can imagine how crushed we were when my grandpa yelled, "April Fool's!" I know they were just probably trying to make the long trip entertaining, but I'm still the teensiest bit mad at them!!
Ok, enough fun family stories--now back to the fool, which is an old English dessert, possibly even dating as far back as the 15th century. No one really knows how it got its unflattering name, maybe because it's so simple to make that even a fool could put it together? In any case, the long ago fools were generally custard-based, but modern ones usually use whipped cream, mixed with some sort of pureed fruit, often berries, apples or rhubarb. And I'm not exaggerating when I say it's foolishly easy to make. All you do is macerate berries for about 10 minutes, puree half of them in the blender and then fold the puree and the regular berries with some sweetened whipped cream. That's it, folks!
It's the perfect answer to unexpected guests dropping by, "Mom, can't we PLEASE have dessert tonight?!! or hot summer days when "no-bake" is a necessity. Plus it's so pretty and festive. And c'mon, who doesn't like strawberries and cream?!! Every pillowy bite is strawberry whipped cream heaven!
So take a few moments away from the practical jokes and celebrate the day with a much tastier April fool! I promise you'll love it and it'll probably get you into a lot less trouble too! Have a great weekend, enjoy something yummy with friends and family and I'll be back next week as we hurtle into April and hopefully, some warmer weather around here!!
Strawberry April Fools
Makes 4 servings
You will need a blender or food processor to make this.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Toss the strawberries with half of the sugar in a medium bowl, and let them sit for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the berries begin to give up their juices.
2. Place half of the strawberries and all of the juice in a blender and puree till smooth. Pour the pureed mixture back into the bowl with the berries and stir together.
3. Whip the cream with the remaining sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold the berries into the cream and transfer into individual serving dishes. Serve immediately or chill for up to 2 hours. The fool is best on the day it's made but pretty great a day or two later too.
Note: Recipe adapted from The New York Times in a column by Mark Bittman.