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A fool to love for Valentine’s Day or any time

Recipe: Fresh strawberry fool is light and simple

Strawberry fool
Strawberry fool is a light, easy dessert for
Valentine's Day or any time. (Photos: Debbie
Arrington)

What could be better than berries and cream? Whipping them together into a light-as-air dessert.

Fresh strawberry fool is an early spring take on an English classic. This version is a variation of Nicole Routhier’s excellent fool recipe in her classic “Fruit Cookbook” (Workman Publishing, 1996).

Fools (as in this dessert) have been around for centuries. They’re a no-cook eggless mousse that can be made with a wide range of soft fruit. (Routhier’s fool recipe features super-ripe apricots.)

According to Routhier, “fool” came from the French word foulé, meaning “crushed” or “pressed.” In this recipe, the strawberries are pureed in a food processor, then the pulp is pushed through a fine sieve to remove seeds.

Only partly fold the fruit puree into the whipped cream, so the fool has stripes of color. If fully blended, the whipped cream turns all pink – still pretty, but not nearly as interesting. With its ribbons of strawberries, this creamy dessert also can be spooned into a tall, clear parfait glass – an elegant fool for special occasions.

Fresh strawberry fool

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar*

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons Cointreau (optional)

Cream in bowl
Leave stripes of color when blending in the berries.

1-3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

Chill beaters and bowl.

In a food processor, puree strawberries. Push strawberry puree through a fine sieve to remove seeds. Add confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and Cointreau (optional). Set aside.

In the chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar, whip to blend. Add vanilla. (Be careful not to overbeat or the cream will become like butter.)

With a rubber spatula, partly fold strawberry puree into the whipped cream, leaving stripes of color. Spoon cream-fruit mixture into compote dishes or parfait glasses. Cover and chill for several hours.

Fool in bowl with strawberry
Now that's a sweet Valentine's Day offering.

Garnish with strawberries if desired just before serving.

* Confectioners’ sugar contains cornstarch. May substitute with ½ cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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