Blackberry Fool

The spring sun has struck me with an incurable fever. Even though snowflakes were falling from the sky just this morning, I long to shed my winter coat and find myself no longer craving the hearty soups and dishes of winter. My mind has begun spinning towards lighter fare and short sleeves. I have begun craving the sweetness of a ripe strawberry and the bold tartness of a stalk of rhubarb in vivid detail. If I shut my eyes tightly, with the sun streaking through the window late into the evening, I can almost pretend the world outside is green and ready to be planted with seeds of rebirth.

I shall never take for granted the arrival of spring again.

Craving a feeling, person, or place brings out a yearning in our heads all the way down to our toes. When our heart's desire is out of reach, we find a way to bring it closer through hope and longing and daydreams. These wishes, both small and large, sustain us as we wait for our cravings to be sated. They sustain us until our cravings come to pass.

I am craving spring. I am craving green grass, the smell of new growth, the touch of a warm sidewalk, the sweetness of a beautiful, red ripe strawberry. The hunger grows daily. As the sun sets later each evening, my appetite becomes insufferable. Knowing warmer weather will be around the corner keeps my spirit up as I dream of the long walks I will take once this winter is done.

Soon, soon, soon.

A "fool" is a traditional English fruit dish originating in the sixteenth century. The dessert was most commonly made with gooseberries, but a variety of fruits from raspberries to apples can be used its place. The three main ingredients to a fool are pureed fruit, whipped cream, and a sprinkling of sugar. For this Blackberry Fool, I used fresh blackberries with whipped cream and a seedless blackberry jam.

This may be a more modern take on a traditional dessert, but the result is the same—delight. Feel free to try out other berries with matching flavors of jam, such as blueberries or strawberries, to play around with flavors and preferences.

Blackberry Fool is a light, sweet ending to a spring or summer meal. Seedless blackberry jam is folded into whipped cream and layered into a glass with fresh blackberries. The contrast between the sweet bite of the berries and the smooth quality of the whipped cream makes the dessert simple, yet elegant. This traditional English dessert can be served for a small dinner party or an evening that calls for something special.

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Blackberry Fool

Yields 4 servings, depending on size

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces or 355 ml) cold heavy whipping cream*
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup seedless blackberry jam
6 ounces (170 grams) fresh blackberries
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cold whipping cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Stir in the vanilla extract. Swirl in the blackberry jam.

Divide the blackberry cream between serving glasses and layer with fresh blackberries. Garnish with a sprig of mint on top. Serve immediately (or store for up to 1 day in the refrigerator).

* Alternatively, you can use one recipe of this coconut whipped cream or use 2 cups of cool whip instead of making your own whipped cream. If you choose to do so, eliminate the whipped cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla and use the substitute whipped cream instead.