Monday, September 26, 2011

Who's a Fool? I'm a Fool!

You can always tell a real friend; when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job. - Laurence J. Peter

Thank goodness for that! There have been plenty of times I’ve made a fool of myself and for the most part it’s been either ignored or soon forgotten. Hopefully that means I have some pretty good friends.

Today, for Temptation Tuesday, rather than making a fool OF myself, I’m making a Fool FOR myself. A dessert Fool, that is.

What is a Fool?
According to the Food Lover’s Companion, a Fool is "an old-fashioned dessert made of cooked, pureed fruit that is strained, chilled and folded into whipped cream".  What could possibly be bad about that?  Most Fool recipes use a strained fruit puree, but today I'm using pineapple that is crushed and left fairly whole in the finished dish. 

Not one to leave well enough alone, today’s fool has a little something extra to give it a flavor boost. Rum! Pineapple is good. Whipped cream is good. Rum is good. Put the three together and this is REALLY good!

You will need a special piece of equipment for this dessert – either a mixer or handheld immersion blender. We’re only whipping up a scant ½ cup of cream so I find that the immersion blender works fine here. Alternatively, you can certainly use some non-dairy whipped topping if you prefer to make this even easier.

I’ve turned this into a parfait to give a little crunch to the dessert. Originally I intended to serve a gingersnap cookie as a garnish, but it sounded so good I added the crushed cookies to the recipe. I happened to have a small bag of inexpensive ginger cookies in the pantry from a batch of German meatballs I made a while ago (yes the recipe called for crushed gingersnaps and it was really quite good).  The bite of the gingersnap goes awesomely well with the rum flavoring of the pineapple. However, feel free to leave this out if you prefer.

Also, if you feel the need to leave out the rum, feel free.  However, this cooks for about 7-8 minutes so there isn't any alcohol left in the fruit by the time it's ready for the dish.

One final note before we get started.  When you're making something this simple, whether it's just for youself or you have guests over, using the best ingredients you can find will take the dish a notch above the norm.  I have noted use of a fresh pineapple, which I love. If you’re not all about preparing your own fresh pineapple, most produce departments now carry pre-peeled pineapples for your convenience. Best case - you may find pineapple chunks on a salad bar in your grocery so that you buy only what you need. In a pinch, a small can of pineapple tidbits will do. Real whipping cream rather than the imitation - fresh pineapple instead of canned - these things don't cost much more and it takes an average dessert to Fool heaven.

1/2 cup freshly cut pineapple
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream (or 3/4 cup non-dairy whipped topping)
1 teaspoon white sugar
¼ cup crushed gingersnap cookies,

In a heavy saucepan, off the heat, mash the pineapple with a fork or potato masher until crushed.

Add sugar and rum, mix well. Turn to medium-high heat, bring to a boil and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes or until mixture is thickened.

Once almost all of the liquid has cooked off, remove from heat.  Put mixture in a heat proof bowl and chill thoroughly in refrigerator.

In a small bowl, whip heavy cream and sugar to stiff peaks.  Here you can see my immersion blender whipping 1/2 cup cream into.... 

...stiff peaked whipped cream. 

Put cream and chilled pinapple mixture into a small bowl and gentlyfold the cream into the pineapple mixture.

About a tablespoon of the cookie crumbs into the bottom of your serving dish. Spoon half of the cream mixture on top. Repeat the layers reserving a sprinkling of crumbs for the garnish.

Garnish with the reserved crumbs, a small piece of pineapple and/or a cookie and serve.

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