Gooseberry fool

The season has officially begun. Swept in by the fourth of July festivities, it has descended on Provincetown like a haze. The weekend marks the start of a crazed Commercial Street, too crowded to drive and some days offering barely room enough to walk, filled with voices and laughter and the wafting temptation of edibles for sale.

This noon, it was the farmers' market that drew the crowd. The formerly sparsely peopled Ryder Square was swarmed for the first time since Labor Day, filled with hungry visitors and cooks and restaurateurs. Suddenly, by the will of the earth, the produce multiplied to match. Tables just weeks ago populated by a few green onions and rogue berry boxes were now teeming with swiss chard and lettuces and shelling peas and broccoli and summer squash and bok choy and herbs.

The best find, however, lay not in the abundance but the variety of the table goods. Beside the strawberries sat several boxes of pink, purple, and white fruits. Pearled and translucent, they had the skin of tiny grapes and the seeds of a pomegranate. Their taste, farm owner Andy Silverbrook informed me, was even more delicate.

The berries were a mix of gooseberries and currants. Silverbrook Farm is located in one of the few regions of the state, Andy explained, where the bushes will produce. The fruits, cultivated for hundreds of years in Europe and popularized as garden fixtures in the 1700s, are far less prominent in modern American horticulture and cookery. As most remember currants only from historic stories and references, it seems fitting to offer an old-fashioned recipe.

Gooseberry fool, corrupted from the French term foulé, is a traditional compound made of gooseberries scalded and pounded and served with whipped cream.


Serves 2

In a large saucepan, combine 1 cup mixed gooseberries and currants with tops and tails removed and 1/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until liquid begins to thicken (about 5 minutes). Mash berries with a ricer or fork and simmer several minutes longer. Chill.

In a large mixing bowl, whip 1/4 cup cream until it begins to peak. Add 1/4 cup thick Greek yogurt, several drops vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff. Fold in chilled berry puree; serve cold with ginger snaps or other crisp cookies.


Anonymous said...

This sounds delicious! I love old recipes. Thank you for inspiring us to rediscover gems like this.

As you no doubt know, gooseberries aren't easy to find anymore. Because gooseberries serve as a host for a white pine blight, the U.S. government banned the planting and cultivation of them in the early 1900s. The ban wasn't lifted until 1966. I hope your post will encourage folks to bring back this delicious berry. ~Your Hungry Mama

Elspeth Pierson said...

Wow! I didn't know that...nothing in the literature I read mentioned it—strange! That is so interesting...will have to do some more research.

xoxo E


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