Since this blog bears a number of references to the delicious Miss Mapp-story by E F Benson involving iced redcurrant fool, we resolved to make use of the abundance of redcurrants in our garden. Now, I can proudly present our very own recipe for Grandmamma Mapp’s Redcurrant Fool.
There’s a most comical story behind this. Some day Miss Mapp, vicious heroine of the Mapp and Lucia novels, came up with the fool, and because she wanted it to cause a real stir, she claimed it to be an ancient family recipe by her ‘grandmamma’. When she was later invited to a friend’s house who served the fool herself, she was furious – theft, and right under her nose! But the delicious fool soon cooled her boiling blood. Everyone was very jolly indeed, and Miss Mapp started to talk about her ‘grandmamma Napp’… As it turned out, the inventive hostess had infused the non-alcoholic fool with a bottle and a half of champagne and half a pint of old brandy. Miss Mapp didn’t care much in the end: ‘How pleasant it all was!’
Miss Mapp was for a moment mistaken in thinking that yolk of egg (apparently an ingredient of the fool) was stimulating her so much. Our fool is egg-free and non-alcoholic of course – we wouldn’t dare to cross Miss Mapp – with some spoonfuls of wonderfully aromatic honey from our bees. My family has been keeping bees for some years, and a lot of care is taken to ensure their wellbeing and a high quality of the honey they give us. So have fun recreating this refreshing dish and read a few pages of Benson – you won’t regret either!
- 300 g of fresh ripe redcurrants (if you have frozen fruit, make sure that they are thoroughly thawed before using them)
- 350 g of whipping cream
- 4 tbsp of honey (you can vary the amount depending on taste or substitute the honey with powdered sugar)
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
Mix the redcurrants with the honey and lemon juice, then squash them with a masher (or a fork or whatever you have handy) until they are reduced to a juicy pulp. Then, take a sieve and with a spoon strain the redcurrant pulp. By doing so, you’ll get a thick juice and the currant pips and skins will be left in the sieve. But don’t worry if a few fall through – there’s nothing wrong with a crunchy little surprise.
Now, put the redcurrant juice into the fridge and take the whipping cream out. Whisk it with an electric hand whisk until you get soft peaks when pulling the whisk out. It doesn’t have to be super stiff. If you want a fresh twist, substitute half of the whipped cream with yoghurt. You might want to sweeten the yoghurt with a little honey or powdered sugar.
You can cool both the juice and the cream for a few hours, or just use them as soon as they’re finished, depending on how hellish the weather is. It was on a whole new level of hellishness when we made our fool, so we left the unmixed ingredients in the fridge for about an hour.
When your juice and cream are as cool as you want them, layer them in glasses, starting with cream. Just dribble a nice amount of juice on each layer of cream until the glass is full, juice being the last layer. You can garnish your fool with mint leaves, little biscuits, chocolate, sprinkles or whatever may take your fancy. And then, you need nothing more than a spoon and a shady spot in the garden to enjoy the fruit of your labour – literally!