Foolish dessert a winner

Leah Eskin
Chicago Tribune

Bananas are berries. This dire news comes direct from the internet, at the far end of a night of berry-soaked revelry.

For those college students following along, please note that we do not condone the use of the internet as a primary research tool.

Nor do we condone overindulgence in berry-soaked revelry.

Nonetheless, this fact has no alternative. It is true.

The banana is a berry. And the strawberry, we regret to report, is not.

Fact-checking, in the sober light of day, comes courtesy of a reliable source: a book. It is backed up by botany.

The berry, technically speaking, develops from the ovary of a flower. Conferring berry status on mul and goose and cran (as well as the banana); not straw.

While this information is informative, in its eggheaded way, it does little for the midsummer reveler eager to indulge in summer’s best (if loosely defined) berry.

The strawberry, mashed and folded into whipped cream, is called fool.

Any fool, with or without a book, can determine it’s both simple and delicious.

Strawberry Fool

Prep: 30 minutes

Chill: 1 hour

Makes: About 3 cups, serves 6

1 pint (10 ounces) fresh, ripe strawberries

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Macerate: Hull and slice berries. Set aside 1/4 cup sliced berries in a large bowl; set a medium-mesh sieve on top. Tumble the rest of the berries into a large saucepan. Stir 1/4 cup sugar and the zest into the pan. Let rest until berries release some of their juices, about 15 minutes. Mash to a pulp with the back of a fork.

Thicken: Heat saucepan over medium-high, stirring until juices thicken, 1-2 minutes. Press through the sieve; discard solids. Let cool.

Whip: Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or simply a bowl and whisk), whip cream, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and the vanilla to sturdy peaks.

Fold: Gently and thoroughly fold berries and the juices into the cream.

Chill: Cover and chill, at least 1 hour. Scoop into small bowls and enjoy.