Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What kind of fool am I? Roasted Peach, Basil and Cardamom Fool, that's what!

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One of the food horrors from my childhood was Black Forest Gateau. In theory it should have been delightful – rich chocolate cake soaked in kirsch and filled with cherries and cream. The reality was a mass-produced travesty of cheap ingredients that turned up at too many birthday parties and didn’t pass muster when compared to my mum’s home baking. No, I don’t think I was a little food snob. Like most kids, I just knew Yuk! when I tasted it.

Instead of becoming a classic of the dessert trolley, the BFG has been consigned to that same hall of infamy as the prawn cocktail, and cheese hedgehogs.

In contrast, a dessert that has stood the test of time – originating in the Middle Ages – is the fruit fool (also spelt foole). This simple classic combination of tart fruit folded through sweet custard causes my taste buds to swoon with pleasure time and again. Play with the flavours and the seasonality of fruit to find your own perfect combination. At the moment, mine is this peach of a dessert.

Mmmm... a peach of a dessert!

For 8 servings of Summer you will need…

For the fruit base:
8 ripe peaches, halved, stone removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 fresh basil leaves, shredded
2 tablespoons orange flower water (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C
Rub the peaches with the olive oil and place in one layer in an ovenproof dish deep enough to catch any juice. Scatter with the basil leaves and place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and leave to cool before chopping into a rough puree. Stir in the orange flower water if using.

For the custard:
1 litre fresh full-fat milk
200mls single cream
the seeds from 1 cardamom pod, crushed
8 egg yolks (the whites can be frozen for later use or you could whisk up a meringue for tomorrow’s dessert…)
4 tablespoons runny honey (or sugar)
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To finish
200mls cream whipped into soft peaks (or Greek yoghurt)
8 sprigs of fresh basil or mint

Place the milk, cream and cardamom in a large saucepan over a medium heat and bring to simmering.

While the milk is heating, place the egg yolks in a large bowl with the honey (or sugar), cornflour and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Remove the milk from the heat and slowly add it to the egg mixture, whisking all the time. (Never add the egg to the milk unless you want sweet scrambled eggs!) 

When all the milk has been added return the mixture to the saucepan and place over a low heat and stir until thickened. Be careful not to let the mixture boil as it can become slightly grainy in texture. Once the custard has thickened, taste and add a little more honey (or sugar) if you prefer a sweeter dessert. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin forming on the surface of the custard.

To serve, divide the fruit between 8 glasses or bowls. Spoon the cold custard over the fruit. Top with a swirl of cream and a sprig of basil or mint. Chill until needed.

(You can, if you prefer, fold the fruit and cream through the custard before serving but I prefer the separate layers).

Other favourite fool flavours include:
Gooseberry with Elderflower Custard
Rhubarb with Cointreau Custard
Damson or Plum with plain old Vanilla Custard
Loganberry with Lemongrass Custard
Cherry with Almond Custard, topped with crushed Amaretti biscuits
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  1. I love you, you fool! I've always wanted to scream that and now I can!

    Roasted peaches are singing songs to my brain right now.

  2. I have the same scarred memory of BFG too Hester. Although after seeing Hestons version I may be persuaded to have another go. No 8.

    I think as it looks last the last day of summer is arriving today a fool of some description is on the cards.

  3. I am always amazed at what new things I learn from my blogger friends; peaches combined with basil- who would've thought? I'll have to give this a try!

  4. Roasted peaches with basil , that's very innovative ! Bookmarked it.
    You have asked for how much time it require for 5-6 whistles in pressure cooker. Well it depends on the type of cooker , normally the soaked dal is done in half an hour . Just cook it for 5-6 whistles and check it out when all the steam evaporates, if its tender then ok otherwise it will all set when you will again cook it with tempering.

  5. I loved this fool recipe. And I can understand why you dislike BFG!

    Wish you a great weekend, Hester.

  6. We all have memories of those poor recipes that got twisted and ended up being a bad thing. I love cardamom and white peaches, so this fool is amazing! Gorgeous dessert. So nice to have found your blog thru Uru!

  7. Oooh, I love, love peaches and now I need to roast some!!! What an amazing dessert!!!

  8. Oh simply beautiful!! LOVE the ingredients and LOVE a good fool!! so glad to have found your blog - happy to follow you :)
    Mary x

  9. Roasted peaches are blissful and with basil and cardamom even better.I think these flavours have summer written all over it. Have a super weekend. Take Care, BAM

  10. Can I come for dessert? This looks absolutely yummy. With all the fresh peaches available right now - you have perfect timing!

  11. Hester, a truly fabulous summertime dessert - I love these kinds of desserts and I am intrigued by the many delicious variations you have come up with - besides today´s roasted peach and basil, I think I would be partial to the rhubarb and gooseberry variations!
    Have a lovely weekend!

  12. These look so delicious and really lovely for summer dessert. I love the flavor combination you've put together here.

  13. I have seen fool so often in different books but have always been convinced it was with whipped cream I cannot stand. Your fool not only contains one of my favourites fruits (and flavoured in such an original way!) but thanks to the custard it looks like a dessert I would certainly enjoy.
    I was lucky to grow up in a family where not a single cake has ever been bought, so I always had my favourite treat for birthday ;-)

  14. Before the summer is over, I MUST roast peaches! I've been thinking about it for sometime and they need to go into the oven right now. :D Such a pretty and delighted dessert, Hester!

  15. What a great combination to roast - Peaches and basil. I'll bet the basil created the yummy aroma in your kitchen. Thank you, Hester! :)

  16. What a light and lovely dessert...your presentation makes me wish that I could take a spoonful.

  17. This looks so summery and refreshing I want to dive right in! Delicious :)

  18. How did I miss this post? OK, I'm a bit late joining the party here. Hester, this recipe looks wonderful. I'm adding this to my egg yolk recipes on Pinterest for meringue and macaron lovers! This is great with 8 yolks!


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