This isn't what you're thinking it is: the word "fool" can actually mean several things other than one of your in-laws or a member of an opposing political party. In this case, it's an ancient English dessert--a simple, luscious confection of whipped cream and tart fruit, similar in concept to a classic Bavarian cream. It was once popular on this side of the Atlantic, too, and ought to be popular again.
1 pint strawberries
2 tablespoons bourbon
Freshly grated zest of one orange
1 cup heavy cream (minimum 36 percent milkfat)
4 sprigs fresh mint
1. Wash the berries and set aside 4 small, nicely shaped ones for garnish. Stem and core the remaining berries, and cut them into thick slices. Sprinkle lightly with sugar--how much will depend on how sweet the berries are already--the bourbon, and the orange zest. Cover and set them aside to macerate for half an hour.
2. Mash the berries to a pulp with a potato masher. Don't use a blender or food processor; both machines do too good a job and liquefy them.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold in the strawberries until the mixture is uniform. Spoon the fool into stemmed glasses. Thoroughly chill the fool for at least 1 hour. Just before serving them, garnish the tops with the sprigs of mint and reserved berries.
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Excerpted from BEANS GREENS AND SWEET GEORGIA PEACHES by Damon Lee Fowler Copyright© 1998 by Damon Lee Fowler. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.