Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blueberry Fool

[The hybrid --a double X-- arrived shortly after the okra post.  The past two months have been a bit of a blur.  Right now I'm typing with one hand while little CG sleeps in the crook of my other arm, so please pardon any typos... not that I didn't have typos when I had free use of all fingers, I just think there may a few extra this time.] 


My oven has also been on the fritz for the past two months [great timing] so there've been almost no crisps, cobblers, or pies around this summer; we've mostly been enjoying the bountiful fruits of the season in a little macerating juice or a dollop of cream.  The fancier version of this is the "Fool," a British dessert [those Brits and their crazy dessert names!] where the fresh or stewed fruit is folded into cream.  JG and I did it one better by pureeing the stewed fruit and whipping it into the cream which --particularly with blueberries -- makes for a more dramatic presentation.


This does require a little make-ahead time sine the puree has to cool before you whip it in, but I don't think it takes any longer than macerating... and blueberries don't really lend themselves to maceration anyway since their skins are strong enough to block the sugar leeching and halved blueberries are frankly unattractive.


Recipe: Blueberry Fool
This should work with any fresh berry or sliced stone fruit. [I'd use honey instead of maple and skip the mint with peaches or plums.]  You could use frozen berries for the syrup and save all of your fresh berries for plating, which would probably yield 6-8 servings.  Lemon verbena is often sold in garden centers, but I've never seen it with the fresh herbs t the grocery store.  It can often be found dried with herbal teas, or you can substitute a couple teaspoons of lemon juice.... It's not quite the same, but it's still tasty.  I imagine you could start with pre-whipped cream, but you're going to have to whip it some more or the fool will be too soft... and I'm not actually sure what would happen if you try to overwhip Miracle Whip, since it ain't really cream.
 
Makes 4 generous servings

1 pint fresh blueberries, picked over for stems [divided use]
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs maple syrup [or brown sugar]
1 sprig mint
1 sprig lemon verbena
1 cup [8oz] heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt

additional mint or verbena sprigs to garnish

Make Berry Syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of blueberries, water, maple, and herbs.  Over high heat, bring to the boil and stir frequently until berries have popped and liquid has thickened slightly ~3-5 minutes.  Use an immersion blender or transfer to a standing blender and puree until smooth, then transfer to a heat-proof measuring cup [you should have ~3/4 cup of syrup] and chill in the fridge or freezer until cool.

Make Berry Cream:  Once the berry syrup is chilled, whip cream, sugar, and salt in a standing mixer or large bowl until firm peaks form and it starts to look lumpy. [This would generally be considered "over-whipped."]  Pour in 1/2 cup of the berry syrup [set aside remainder for assembly] and whisk vigorously [on high] to incorporate.  Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and whisk one more time to make sure no white streaks remain.

Assemble the Fool:  Distribute remaining berries evenly among 4 bowls or glasses.  Dollop berry cream over the top of each, drizzle with remaining berry syrup, and finish with an herb sprig [or reserve a few berries and sprinkle them over the top]. Serve cold.

To Make Ahead:  The syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for a week.  The berry cream can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 24 hrs.  You can assemble individual fools ahead of time minus the syrup & garnish [the syrup will slowly bleed], cover them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to 24 hours, then garnish just before serving,

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