The Ladies' Tea Guild

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another Fool Recipe.

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In preparation for Easter, I'm looking through my recipes (again) to find something interesting to make. While paging through my copy of Warne's Model Cookery from ca. 1890, I found a vintage recipe for Gooseberry Fool, which, as I understand, was the favorite kind during the Victorian era. The acidity of the gooseberries was supposed to aid in the clotting of the milk, I believe. So, if you happen to have some fresh gooseberries, this may be a good recipe to re-create! "New milk" refers to fresh, whole milk, rather than sour milk, buttermilk, skimmed milk or cream. Your regular whole milk from the grocery should work well for this, although I would try to use non-homogonized whole milk if you can find it.

Gooseberry Fool.

Two quarts of gooseberries; one quart of water; sugar to taste; two quarts of new milk; yolks of four eggs; a little grated nutmeg.

Put two quarts of gooseberries into a stewpan with a quart of water; when they begin to turn yellow and swell, drain the water from them and press them with the back of a spoon through a colander, sweeten them to your taste, and set them to cool. Put two quarts of milk over the fire beaten up with the yolks of four eggs, and a little grated nutmeg; stir it over the fire until it begins to simmer, then take it off, and stir it gradually into the cold gooseberries, let it stand until cold, and serve it. The eggs may be left out and milk only may be used. Half this quantity makes a good dishful.

Then, there is a similar dish called syllabub, which can be like a custard, or like a beverage -- sort of like an ice cream soda where the ice cream is melted and floating on top of the soda pop. Here is a recipe for a thing called "London Syllabub" which sounds like some older recipes for "fool" that I've seen. The only thing preventing me from trying this recipe is the necessity for having a cow ...

London Syllabub.

A pint and a half of sherry; two ounces of sugar; grated nutmeg; two quarts of milk.

Sweeten a pint and a half of sherry with the loaf sugar in a bowl, and add nutmeg. Milk into it from the cow about two quarts of milk.

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)