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Berry fool is an old-fashioned English treat whose name derives from the French word fouler, to crush. This versatile dessert can be spooned into dessert bowls or wineglasses and served immediately. It also makes a delicious accompaniment to a thin slice of pound cake or angel food cake. Or, for a more showy, but equally easy, presentation, layer the fool in tall wineglasses, alternating it with layers of mixed berries such as sliced strawberries and whole raspberries and blueberries, as shown in the photo.

Ingredients:

  • 7 small strawberries, plus 2 small strawberries, halved (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus more, to taste
  • 3/4 cup raspberries or blueberries, or a mixture
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, well chilled
  • 8 small fresh mint leaves (optional)

Directions:

Stem and hull the 7 strawberries, then quarter them lengthwise (you should have about 3/4 cup). In a small bowl, stir together the quartered strawberries and the 1/3 cup sugar. Using a fork, smash the berries until they are jamlike and mostly pureed. Add the raspberries and/or blueberries and crush lightly with the fork. Stir in the lemon juice and salt. Taste and add 1 to 2 Tbs. more sugar, if desired. Place in the freezer and chill, stirring frequently, until very cold, about 15 minutes.

In a chilled bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream on medium to medium-high speed until firm peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Scoop the chilled fruit onto the cream and, using a rubber spatula, fold the fruit into the cream until just incorporated.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate overnight. Spoon into dessert bowls or glasses. Garnish with the small strawberries and mint leaves. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Dessert, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2004)