Tuesday, 9 June 2015

What kind of fool am I? It´s my parfait,

 yes,we even fooled with the photograph

When push comes to shove I never know whether the whipped cream dessert I am making is a trifle, fool, or parfait."Words, words, words! I'm so sick of words I get words all day through..."

Trifles, fools, and parfaits are close cousins. There is so much overlap that what I call a parfait, you may call a trifle or a fool. They are all layers of fruit, creamy fillings, and perhaps with crumbled cookie or cake pieces.Regardless of what you call it, these decadent kind of fluffed up creamy desserts are irresistible summer puddings.
What I set out to make last week was a fool,so lets take it from the top.
Gastronomically speaking,a fool is a cold English dessert made from puréed or stewed fruit mixed with cream or custard. In theory it can be made with any fruit, but the Victorians seemed to have been inordinately fond of gooseberry fool.That particular classic fool takes me back to my childhood. Edward Lear celebrated it in a limerick:

There was an old person of Leeds
whose head was infested with beads
she sat on a stool
and ate gooseberry fool
which agreed with that person from Leeds

Modern recipes may include any seasonal fruit readily found, but gooseberry fool remains the perennial favorite.Nowadays recipes often skip the traditional custard and use whipped cream instead.Where I was born we didn´t have trifles and parfaits, and we didn´t have many fools either,only the dessert kind that my mother introduced us to.What we did have however was a heck of a lot of gooseberries.Unfortunately here in Portugal gooseberries are non-existent, so I have to stick to seasonal fruit. There is a glut of apricots,so I made an apricot fool but introduced yet another culture into my recipe,Italian flavours.To hold on to that childhood reference while making this fool of myself I needed music to accompany my vigorous whipping and beating and stir me on. I was brought up by my parents on musicals and what better choice of soundtrack to back up my endeavour than "My fair Lady",one show stopper in particular,the song "Show me" when the changed flower girl Eliza Doolittle vents her anger at paramour Freddy Eynsford-Hill.
For anyone who is familiar with this number try beating cream to it.The feeling of exhilaration that comes over you and possesses you is quite extraordinary.Try it.

Sing me no song, read me no rhyme
Don't waste my time, show me!
Don't talk of June, don't talk of fall
Don't talk at all!
Show me!
Never do I ever want to hear another word
There isn't one, I haven't heard
Here we are together in what ought to be a dream
Say one more word and I'll scream
Apricot amaretti parfait
  • 500g ripe fresh apricots, halved and stoned
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 125ml honey
  • 15g golden caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp Licore de laranja, Cointreau or other orange flavoured liqueur
  • 500g carton mascarpone
  • 142ml carton double cream
  • 18 amaretti biscuits, plus extra to serve
Put the apricot halves in a saucepan with the lemon zest and juice, honey and sugar. Shake the pan to combine, then simmer, uncovered, over a medium heat until the apricots are soft. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
Tip the contents of the pan into a blender or food processor and whizz to a purée. Decant into a bowl, stir in the liqueur and leave to cool – about 20-30 minutes.
Soften the mascarpone in its tub by whisking it vigorously with a fork. Whip the cream in a bowl – you want it softly whipped not stiff. Fold in the mascarpone with a large metal spoon, then lightly swirl in the apricot purée.
Spoon the mixture into six wine glasses. (At this point, they’ll keep in the fridge for up to a day.) To serve, crumble over the amaretti, with a few on the side for dunking.
Having made a fool,and got it out of my system I thoroughly enjoyed myself and wont need to get fooled again for a while.It was my parfait and I tried because I wanted to.

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