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Gooseberry fool

Serves 6

A good fool is light as air, not too sweet and beautifully clean in taste. It is possible to use any of the soft summer fruits – simply poach in a sugar syrup until the fruit begins to burst and bleed, then gently whip some cream until it is just thick enough to hold the fruit. This combination of strawberries and gooseberries is very nice – the strawberries are not cooked, just barely crushed to allow their lovely flavour to shine through.

500g/1lb gooseberries
4 tbsp icing sugar
1 punnet of strawberries
300ml/10fl oz double cream

Wash and pat dry the gooseberries, then remove any sharp stems and wipe clean using a tea-towel to remove any spiky bits that are sometimes to be found on their outer flesh.

Place in a saucepan along with the icing sugar over a low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit begins to soften and gently bursts. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge to chill.

Hull the strawberries and place in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the strawberries just until they begin to exude their juice. Place in the fridge to chill. Just before serving, whip the cream very lightly until soft peaks begin to form. Stir through half the gooseberries and strawberries, and spoon into a serving bowl. Spoon the rest of the fruit over the top and return to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes or so before serving.