Quick, Easy, Wonderful Summer Desserts ~ Fruit Fools & Messes

I recently made us some Strawberry Fool and it occurs to me that this is such a quick, easy and utterly delicious thing to do with fruit I really should write about it, so here goes!

A fruit fool is simply fresh fruit, crushed or simmered with a little sugar as appropriate, folded into whipped cream. Some modern recipes replace up to half of the whipped cream with thick Greek yogurt and this works very well but is not quite the traditional fool of old. Other recipes use half cream and half custard (I’d use the ready-made here, which is unlike me, unless you are very keen!) and I believe originally fools were custard based, however  it’s all up to you, it’s your fool!

How to Make a Fruit Fool

~ Before you start set aside a few of the choicest pieces of fruit to decorate the dish.
~ Depending on the fruit you are using crush, macerate or simmer the fruit with sugar as needed till soft and syrupy.
~ Taste the fruit and add more sugar if necessary. If too sweet add a squeeze of lemon juice.
~ If you’ve cooked the fruit allow to cool completely and utterly before proceeding.
~ Use an approximately equal volume of cream as crushed or puréed fruit.
~ Whip the cream (together with any additions as suggested below) till it looks like this.
~ Fold the fruit and whipped cream (together with any additions) –you can either fold in completely or make pretty folds and swirls.

Here is how I made the fool we ate earlier …

Strawberry Fool

Serves 3-4 

300g strawberries 
1½ tbsp caster sugar
300ml double cream 

~ Hull the strawberries, slice and mix with the sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes up to 24 hours (the longer time should be in the fridge), which will result in soft strawberry pieces in a syrup.
~ Lightly mash together the fruit and its syrup.
~ Whip the cream and fold in the fruit and any juices.
~ Divide between pretty glasses and chill till needed.

A lovely addition to strawberry fool is a spoonful of Rumpot which should be whipped in with the cream! If you have no Rumpot, make some now. It does take a lot of planning ahead, but I promise you won't regret it!


Now is the Perfect Time to Make a Mess! 

Eton Mess, that is, see end of post for how to make this utterly delicious dessert with little further ado.

Fruit Fool Ideas 

As I said, this recipe/method works brilliantly for so many fruits, here are some ideas to get you started.

berries-for-fruit-foolSummer Berry Fool

Exactly as above but use a mixture of berries.

Raspberry Fool 

Same again but with raspberries which may need a little more sugar.


Blueberry Fool  

Blueberries need a little cooking and they also taste particularly well with lemon so put the berries and the sugar in a small pan with a squeeze of lemon and cook gently till they start to burst. At this stage you can either crush them for a chunky fool or purée for a smooth finish. Cool then fold into the whipped cream.

A great addition to this is to swirl in a couple of tablespoons of lemon curd after folding the fruit and cream together.


Blackberry & Apple Fool

Cook the blackberries to a mush, sweeten appropriately and cool completely. Fold together with the cream and then swirl through a few spoonsful of apple sauce – recipe here


Banana Fool

Simply mash ripe bananas with sugar, or honey, to taste and fold into the whipped cream. A dash of rum whipped in with the cream would be a good idea.

Coffee Banana Fool

Ripple through some coffee syrup.

Chocolate Banana Fool

As above but ripple through some chocolate sauce – the dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce here is perfect for this.  Probably a good idea to top with grated chocolate too!

Caramelised Banana Fool

20g butter
30g light brown sugar
3 bananas, sliced
a drip or two of vanilla extract
½ tablespoon dark Rum
300ml double cream

~ Melt together the butter and sugar in a frying pan.
~ Slice the banana, add to the pan and cook gently till soft, turning the slices now and then till soft.
~ Turn up the heat and cook, stirring, so that the bananas break down and start to caramelise.
~ Stir in the vanilla and, away from the heat, add the rum.
~ Cool completely.
~ Whip the cream and fold in the caramelised banana goo.

Rhubarb Fool

Prepare the rhubarb and cut into thin slices. Put into a pan with a spoonful each of sugar and water and cook till utterly tender. In this case drain off any excess juices, if watery. Taste and sweeten, rhubarb can be quite sharp. Fold together with the cream.

Ginger goes well with rhubarb so maybe fold in a little syrup from the stem ginger jar and/or some finely chopped stem ginger.


Peach Fool

Peel and dice peaches and cook in a pan over medium (add a spoonful of water to get them started), stirring often, till broken down into a chunky sauce. Taste and add sugar as you wish. Cool completely before folding together with the cream.

Peach Melba Fool

Make peach fool and then ripple through some raspberry coulis – recipe here towards end of the post. 

Gooseberry Fool

This is a very traditional and old-fashioned fool, but the basics are the same. Top and tail the gooseberries, simmer for about 10 minutes together with a couple of spoonsful of water and a fairly generous amount of sugar as they can be very sharp. When the fruit has burst simmer a little longer to cook off excess juices. Purée the fruit and juices and then strain to remove pips. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Cool then chill. Fold into the whipped cream.


Gooseberry & Elderflower Fool

Quite simply stir a little elderflower cordial into the fruit purée before folding into the cream. Clean elderflowers would be a great garnish for this.


Mango Fool

Purée ripe mango together with either a little fresh lime juice or, my preference, a splash of rum. Fold into the whipped cream.

Serve your fools in a large glass bowl or pretty individual glasses or maybe crisp tart cases. Garnish with fresh and appropriate fruits or chopped nuts, grated chocolate, crushed caramel or even crushed biscuits. 

So that’s the idea – let me know what foolish things you make! 

Oh, and here’s a slightly different fool …

Boodle’s Orange Fool

Serves 6

This recipe originates from Boodle’s Club in Pall Mall, London which was founded in 1762 and named after its head waiter, Edward Boodle, which is quite an accolade. This is their recipe ...

6 trifle sponges or ladyfingers 
zest and juice of 2 oranges 
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp Grand Marnier – optional in inauthentic but nice 
30g caster sugar 
300ml double cream 

~ Cut the sponges into 1cm cubes and arrange prettily in 6 glasses or one glass bowl.

~ Stir together the citrus zests and juices and Grand Marnier if using, keep stirring till the sugar has dissolved.
~ Whip the cream to just thickening and then slowly drizzle in the fruit juice mixture, whisking as you go.
~ Pour over the sponge pieces and chill for at least 2 hours but more is good as it allows the juices to soak into the sponges.
~ Garnish with a slice of orange, or a twist of orange zest or even some crystallised orange zest

Eton Mess

Eton Mess is named after a strawberry dessert traditionally served at Eton on 4th June at the annual cricket match held between Eton College and Harrow School.
Basically you fold broked or coarsely crushed meringut into Strawberry Fool  Bought in meringues are fine for this but homemade meringues are even finer – here is my Simple Fail-Proof Meringue Recipe.

As I say this is traditionally strawberry based but there is no reason to make any kind of mess you like from a fruit fool of your choice.


To be perfectly frank with you this is the photo I have used on the cover of my book Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine and actually depicts Eton Mess Ice Cream, but you get the gist!!!