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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 strawberries.

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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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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