Friday, February 13, 2009

A FOOL for Valentine's Day!!!

Is this a Fool or a Whim Wham...that is the question!
After reading through various books and tearsheets I realized that Fool and Whim Wham are somewhat interchangeable although Fool leans more to crushed fruit and luscious whipped cream gently folded together and Whim Wham tends towards custard, cream and crushed fruit with the excellent added addition of almond macaroons. I have to admit I swooned towards the Whim Wham but, of course, I wanted to use Fool in the title as it works so well with the whole concept of Valentine's Day!!! Tee Hee
Here is the recipe, which honestly is not at all unlike the trifle recipe below...the jelly/jello being the noteable absence.......please make in order...
MACAROONY PART:
2ozs ground almonds
2ozs fine sugar (I actually grind the sugar and almonds together in a coffee grinder to get them finer than they come from the store...the almonds don't go oily if you combine them evenly with the sugar and don't grind for too long).
2 egg whites...whisked to quite dry/stiff peaks
1 teaspoon rose water (not necessary if you can't find it but it does add a certain 'je ne c'est quoi')
Very simply gently blend all ingredients together so as not to deflate the whisked egg whites then drop in small mounds onto a greased baking sheet and cook in a slow oven ie about 275F for about 30-40 minutes until somewhat browned and 'dry'....the net result should be a very crunchy cookie/biscuit to crumble in with the Fool, allow to cool completely before you use them so they are nice and crisp.
CUSTARD/english custard/creme patisserie/pastry cream:
FINALLY, I have found a pastry cream that actually sets when cold, I tried about 3 other recipes that SAID the custard would set when cold but they didn't...this one WORKS!!!, and really well but you have to be vigilant!
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of regular flour
1 tablespoon of cornstarch (cornflour for the Brits)
1. Combine the milk, vanilla and 1/4 cup of sugar in a pan and heat until the sugar dissolves.
2. In a bowl beat the egg and extra yolks with the remaining sugar until thick.
3. Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch into yolk mixture and beat until well mixed and smooth.
4. Beat half the hot milk into the yolk mix until combined and smooth.
5. Then pour this into the remaining hot mixture in the pan.
6. HERE IS THE VIGILANT PART, keep your eyeballs peeled and whisk moving like the clappers!!! Bring the custard to a quick boil, whisking, whisking, whisking and as soon as it thickens..., take off the heat and whisk until it starts to cool....put pan in a bowl of cold water and continue to whisk until cold...you don't have to do it non-stop, but pretty often to prevent a skin from forming....when I was little if there was a skin on the custard it made me gag,
so don't go there!!!
WHIPPED CREAM:
Preferably organic and about 12 fl. oz of such with a little added sugar to taste and perhaps a teaspoon of vanilla extract/essence
FRUITY PART:
I chose raspberries for my Fool, a package of frozen organic ones which I put into a bowl, sprinkled with sugar and let steep and macerate whilst I proceeded with the rest of the recipe.
You can do strawberries or most traditionally gooseberries if you can find them.
ASSEMBLAGE:
In a tall glass layer the whipped cream, then the custard, then the crushed fruit, then the crumbled macaroons til the glass is elegantly full....add a macaroon to the top...consume!!
DID YOU KNOW??
In Medieval Europe lovers gave one another sprigs of YARROW at the beginning of a Valentine's Day dinner which if they wilted by the end of the repast, meant the love affair was doomed, DOOMED I tell you....now where do you get yarrow at this time of the year in Maine??
(This information courtesy of Gourmet Mag Feb 2008)
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