A raspberry fool
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Main ingredient(s)||Puréed fruit, whipped cream, sugar|
A fool (obsolete spelling foole) is an English dessert. Traditionally, fruit fool is made by folding pureed stewed fruit (classically gooseberries) into sweet custard. Modern fool recipes often skip the traditional custard and use whipped cream. Additionally a flavouring agent like rose water may be added.
History and etymology
Foole is first mentioned as a dessert in 1598 (together with trifle), although the origins of gooseberry fool may date back to the 15th century. The earliest recipe for fruit fool dates to the mid 17th century. Why the word "fool" is used as the name of this fruit dessert is not clear. Several authors derive it from the French verb fouler meaning "to crush" or "to press" (in the context of pressing grapes for wine), but this derivation is dismissed by the Oxford English Dictionary as baseless and inconsistent with the early use of the word.
Originally the most common fruit ingredient in fools was gooseberries, although other fruits and berries are known from early recipes, e.g., apples and raspberries. Modern recipes may include any seasonal fruit readily found, but gooseberry fool remains the perennial favorite.
Norfolk fool is an old local variation of the fruit fool which seems to treat the fruit content more as a secondary ingredient, adding it at the end of the recipe.
- Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, 1989.
- Garmey, Jane. Great British Cooking: A Well Kept Secret. New York: Random House, 1981
- The compleat cook, anonymous (W.M.), 1658
- Hibler, Janie. The Berry Bible,Harper Collins Publishers, 2000, page 306
- Recipe for gooseberry fool (accessed 1 July 2010).
- The accomplisht cook, by Robert May, 1660-1685