We’ve been enjoying the sunny weather, which means there are some days – and even some weeks during the summer – when the stove and oven go untouched. Rich is in his element in the heat, enjoying the Weber Grill my parents and I gave him a few years back.
Sure, I’m always happy to bring a salad to these meals — and trust me, there are dozens to talk about — but given the chance, Rich will snatch the vegetables off the counter and cook them over the coals. I can’t complain too loudly about someone being helpful and taking responsibilities off my plate. And this weekend, when I was feeling a bit under the weather, it was nice and reassuring that I didn’t have to worry about our next meal.
I did bring dessert, though, and it couldn’t have been simpler. It’s this time of year that fool recipes – a simple British summer dessert consisting of stiffed whipped cream and berries – start to crop up. And why not? There’re always berries on sale at the market, and the oven stays off, keeping the kitchen cool.
I made our version in an extremely lazy way, mashing berries I had macerated for about an hour. If you have the gumption, I’d say turn on the stove and cook down the berries even more, or get out your step stool and get down the blender and give the berries a whirl. It’s up to you, of course.
The recipe I used for the berries comes from a strawberry shortcake recipe from a Bon Appetit from last summer. If memory serves, it was a dead simple biscuit recipe and the results were superb. But skip the biscuit and just make this. It’s so easy and so so delicious.
2 pounds fresh strawberries (about 8 cups), hulled, quartered if small, sliced if large
6 Tablespoons sugar, divided
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix strawberries, 5 tablespoons sugar, vinegar, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Let macerate an hour, stirring occasionally. At the end of an hour, use a potato masher to break down the berries even more. Alternatively, puree the macerated berries in a blender for 30 seconds.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream, vanilla, and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another medium bowl until peaks form.
Assemble the fool: Fold berries, its juices, and the cream together. Serve in a tall glass, if you have one. In fact, you can assemble the fool and serve it from the same glass.