#163 Wild Apricot Fool or Ice Cream

Seeing as we’d had a very un-summery meal of beef and dumplings, I thought I’d better do something nice and cool and refreshing for pudding. This fool is classed as a winter fool by Jane Grigson, I assume because it has dried fruit rather than fresh fruit in it. However, she says it can also be made into an ice cream, transforming into a summer pud.

It uses an ingredient previously unknown to me – dried apricots; not the semi-dried apricots you get from the supermarket, but whole, tiny completely dry ones from Asian supermarkets. They really are rock-hard dry so make sure you soak them in cold water overnight before you use them.

In case you didn’t know what to look for –

the apricots in their dry state

This recipe uses six ounces (dry weight) of the apricots.

Simmer the soaked apricots in their soaking water for 5 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and boil their soaking liquor down to a syrup. Meanwhile, remove the flesh, reserving the stones, and mash it into a coarse puree. Crack open the reserved stones, to reveal the kernels, chop them roughly and add those to the puree. When the soaking liquor is syrupy add that too and allow to cool. Add some icing sugar and lemon juice to bring out the flavours, if needed. Beat ½ pint of whipping or double cream and fold this into the puree. If you are making this into a fool put into glasses and chill, or alternatively pour into an ice cream maker.

Griggers suggests serving it with almond biscuits, but I went one better – I served them in ice cream cones with home make monkey blood (that’s raspberry sauce to you).


#163 Wild Apricot Fool or Ice Cream – 6/10. Very nice, though lacked flavour; this was, I think, due to it being cold and therefore requiring a lot more sugar and lemon juice than I gave it, as it tasted fine before freezing. That said it did have a nice honey-like taste and the chopped kernels were delicious and made it texturally more interesting than a bog-standard ice cream. I think the recipe was best suited to a fool rather than an ice cream. With a few changes though, this could be bumped up to be a 7 or 8 out-of-ten ice cream.

FYI: apricot kernels contain potent anti-cancer drugs and have been used to treat tumours since the 6th Century. They are also believed to cleanse the respiratory system and have been used to treat coughs. Combine this with the super-high carotenoid content of the apricot flesh, and you’ve got a serious super-food on your hands, mister!

#157 Gooseberry Fool

Technically the first of the British soft summer fruits, the gooseberry is one of my all-time favourites. It seems to have gone out of favour these days and quite tricky to track down. I suppose it’s because you have to top and tail them and cook them before you eat then. It’s big shame though. It seems that some people don’t even know what gooseberries are, seeing as one woman in the greengrocers told the lady on the till that there was “something wrong with your grapes, ‘cos they’re all hairy”. I despair sometimes, I really do. Oh well, if you come across some and don’t know what to do with them, start of by making a fool. If you don’t find any, you can substitute any soft fruit for the gooseberries and still have something delicious.

This was enough for three:

Top and tail 8 ounces of gooseberries, place them in a pan with an ounce of butter, cover and cook them gently. Once the gooseberries turn a yellow-ish colour and have softened – around 5 minutes – crush then with a wooden spoon and/or a fork. Try to avoid making them too pureed and mushy; you still want a bit of bite. Now add sugar, not too much as the fruit is supposed to remain a little tart, however, this is all down to personal preference. Allow to cool. Now whip ¼ pint of double cream and fold in the gooseberries and spoon into serving dishes. Grigson suggests serving with an almond biscuit (I didn’t)


#157 Gooseberry Fool – 8/10. This is my kind of pudding; small, yet perfectly-formed, I love stewed fruit and cream (or custard) of any type, but gooseberries especially and they are such a short-lived treat that you need to show them off as best – and as simply – as you can.

#12 Orange Fool

Dessert.

Not sure if I made it properly to be honest; tasty though it was. It’s like no fool I’ve ever heard of. A fool is normally pureed fruit stirred into whipped cream. Not this one, this one’s more like a custard.

Mix three large eggs with half a pint of double cream, two ounces of sugar and the juice of three oranges in a basin along with some ground cinnamon and nutmeg until very thick. Place the basin over a pan of simmering water and whisk until it has thickened. After stirring it for about 15 minutes, I realised it as never going to become even a little bit thick! Oh dear. I soldiered on – the Grigson Padawan always ensures that the show still goes on. Poured it into wine glasses for that 70s kitschness. Top with candied peel and a sprinkle of orange flower water. The delicately perfume flower water made the whole dish very exotic, and although the fool wasn’t (in my humble opinion) a fool, or thick. It was pretty special. Very rich and creamy, but the acidic orange juice that cut through the richness allowed you to keep on eating!!

Simon says:
For dessert an orange fool was served up. It did not last long for no sooner was it tasted than it was finished. Sweet and rich, smooth and thick, the glasses were licked clean. 8/10

Then we got pissed in Levy with a dinner lady and her god-awful son. Woo hoo!

I say:
#12 Orange Fool: 7/10. I cocked it up, but not even I can totally spoil a Grigson pud!