Tuesday, May 27, 2008

berry, berry foolish

Leah won the "what should I do with whipping cream?" poll... I made the May/June 2008 Cook's Illustrated Ultimate Berry Fool (strawberry and raspberry) recipe. I've never had fool before, but what could be bad... macerated fruit mixed with whipped cream! The CI recipe is a little different, using gelatin to thicken the fruit mixture, using some mashed and some whole berries, and cooking a portion of the fruit mixture. It said, "serve immediately!" and I was a little worried about how literally to take that command - I wasn't sure what was going to happen if I let it sit for a few minutes. Turns out (I learned from the leftovers two days later), the gelatin gets over-set - so the whipped cream kind of turns rubbery. No big - it just means this is not a good dessert left over.

Here's how it looked:

and here's how to make it:

2 quarts strawberries (about 2 pounds), washed, dried and stemmed
1 pint raspberries (about 12 ounces), washed and dried
1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 Carr's Whole Wheat Crackers or 4 gingersnaps
6 sprigs fresh mint (optional)

1. Process 1 quart strawberries, 1/2 pint raspberries, and 1/2 cup sugar in food processor until mixture is completely smooth, about 1 minute. Strain puree through a fine mesh strainer into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup (you should have about 2 1/2 cups puree; reserve any excess for another use). Transfer 1/2 cup puree to a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top; stir until gelatin is incorporated and let stand at least 5 minutes. Heat remaining 2 cups puree in small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble, 4-6 minutes. (It took mine way less - maybe 2-3 minutes.) Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Transfer to medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, chop remaining 1 quart strawberries into rough 1/4" pieces. Toss strawberries, remaining 1/2 pint raspberries, and 2 tablespoons sugar together in medium bowl (use a little less sugar if using frozen berries). Set aside for 1 hour.

3. Place cream, sour cream, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in chilled bowl of stand mixer. Beat on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high; continue beating until mixture has nearly doubled in volume and holds stiff peaks, about 30 seconds. Transfer 1/3 cup whipped cream to small bowl and set aside in fridge.

4. Remove thickened berry puree from fridge and whisk until smooth. With mixer running at medium speed, slowly add 2/3 of puree to whipped cream; mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Using spatula, gently fold in remaining puree, leaving streaks of puree.

5. Transfer uncooked berries to a fine mesh strainer; shake gently to remove excess juice. (I'll bet you could save the fruit juice syrup for another use, too... don't know what, though. Boil and make flavored simple syrup to brush the layers of a cake before frosting?) Divide 2/3 of berries among 6 tall parfait or sundae glasses. Divide creamy berry mixture evenly among glasses, follwed by remaining uncooked berries. Top each glass with reserved plain whipped cream. Sprinkle with crushed crackers or cookies and garnish with mint sprigs, if using. Serve immediately.

- You can make the whipped cream in advance, and you can even stir in the berry puree maybe an hour or so in advance. If it's going to be much longer than that, make all the pieces in advance, and wait to assemble until right before you eat. That way, the berries will retain a better texture and won't soup-up the whipped cream. Also, the cookie/cracker crumbs will be crunchy.

- I used plain yogurt instead of sour cream

- I used cookies, not crackers

- I used fresh strawberries and frozen raspberries

- Instead of a fine mesh strainer, I strained the berry puree in a food mill, which worked just fine

This was light - but rich - and a great summer dessert. It sounds like a lot of steps, but notice that each one takes approximately 15-30 seconds. However, since there are some time constraints - like the berry puree needing to chill for two hours - you do have to plan out the timing a little in advance.

All told, it's a really easy dish. I'll bet you could use just about any berry. And it's very refreshing in hot weather!


joshmess said...

for those keeping track of the score at home know that leah's win was josh's loss. i'm sure the dessert was terrific...there was however a much better vote cast.

meredith said...

lol...i was totally thinking the same thing, josh

Leah said...

I don't get it. I sense that there is a joke being made at my expense and, yet, I don't understand what it is.

Either way, I win! I win!

jami said...

Not at your expense. Meredith suggested I use the whipped cream for something x-rated, and Josh highly agreed. Thus, he was disinterested in all legitimate cooking uses I might have for whipped cream.