It may sound odd, but there’s something about typing up a recipe that I find mildly therapeutic. The sequence, the logic, the detail; it makes sense to me, and there lies a certain amount of comfort in the technical nature of it all.
Art, for me, is laborious. I find it challenging, and I have to push myself to persevere in the frequent moments that I want to give up. Yet that is not so when it comes to numbers, instructions, and things with clear boundaries. I have often wished that I was more carefree and didn’t cling so tightly to what I know and understand, that creativity could flow from within without restraint. I sometimes long to be more like others who seem to care less about tidiness and more about beauty, but this is who I am. My quirks may not be any that others are looking to emulate, but they are mine nonetheless. All I can do is smile at this silly girl God made and thank him for the blessing of being able to do so.
My idiosyncrasies have little to do with blueberry fools, save for the fact that I just finished writing the recipe, which we should now discuss. Fool is a strange name to be sure, and if you aren’t familiar with it, this dessert is essentially whipped cream bumped up a couple notches. The cream has been sweetened with maple syrup, then roasted blueberries are folded in, imparting a gorgeous purple hue. Lemon juice provides needed freshness to keep it from being heavy, and candied walnuts add a bit of texture. This dessert can be assembled quickly and in advance, making for a light and tasty summer treat.
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Dash salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Toss the blueberries, 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup, and salt in a small bowl until combined, then transfer the mixture to a rimmed metal baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, then let cool to room temperature. Transfer the roasted blueberries to a small bowl, and stir in the fresh lemon juice.
- While the blueberries are roasting, heat a dry skillet over medium high heat, then add the walnut halves, maple syrup and salt, stirring to coat. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the syrup thickens and coats the nuts. Transfer the nuts to a sheet of parchment paper to cool.
- Using a stand mixer, electric handheld mixer, or - if you have more endurance than me - a whisk, beat the whipping cream together with the vanilla extract and maple syrup until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold the cooled roasted blueberries into the maple whipped cream just until the contrasting colors begin to swirl together. Portion into serving dishes and chill for 30 minutes. Serve the fools with a generous sprinkling of maple-candied walnuts.
Tips and Tidbits
- Short on time? You can skip the 30 minute chilling period if you need to – the fools will still be quite tasty. I just happen to like the extra coolness on a hot summer day.
- Maple-candied walnuts are good for more than topping desserts. Make up a batch (or double!) and add them to salads for a sweet crunch. It’s also worth mentioning that the walnuts are just a bit tacky immediately after they are made, but that goes away after about a day. Oh, and if you do choose to make them ahead of time, be sure to keep them in a sealed container.
- Blueberries are in abundance in my neck of the woods, but consider this recipe a basic framework for whatever fruit you have on hand. Soft fruits such as blackberries and raspberries can be pureed raw if desired and folded into the whipped cream, but cooked apples, peaches, or rhubarb would also be scrumptious. Try making a parfait by layering a complementary fruit with the flavored whipped cream. Swap honey or sugar for the maple syrup, and whipped coconut cream for the dairy for even more variation.