Gooseberry Fool

Makes 8 servings (serving a crowd?)

1 lb cranberries
2 oz margarine
approximately 1 cup sugar
1 c heavy cream
almond biscuits (see Notes)


Melt margarine in heavy-bottomed pan, add the cranberries and cook on low heat for about five minutes. When the berries have softened, crush with a wooden spoon, but do not pureé. Season with the sugar to taste.

Whip the cream until firm and fold in the cooled fruit. Chill if possible. Crush almond biscuits on top (or line each dessert cup with whole biscuits) just before serving.


Much like a Trifle, a Fool is thrown together with whatever's on hand. Instead of tart gooseberries, we used a close American equivalent: cranberries. And we debated over whether to complement with soft ladyfingers or crunchy almond biscuits. This time we opted for the textural contrast of the latter, but next time, who knows? The recipe'll never be the same way twice.

Our recipe is based on one of Grigson's. And despite all her protestation of the peculiarly British enthusiasm for the gooseberry, our local source of gooseberries is a German grocery.

The almond biscuits we modified from a scrounged English source: 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt rubbed together to the texture of breadcrumbs. 14 Tablespoons butter, 1 cup ground almonds, and 3 Tablespoons confectioners sugar stirred therein. ¼ cup milk and ¼ teaspoon almond extract added to form a soft dough, then spread into a parchment-lined (or greased) 9x13" pan and baked in a 375° oven for 25 minutes. Intended for high tea, they're not sweet; maybe you want to substitute vanilla extract for the almond. Or you could use something more cookie-like, some Pepperidge Farm thingee or similar confection.

First served: Imbolc 1994
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Last modified: © February 1995