Old Fashioned Blueberry Fool Dessert Recipe – Postcards from Maine – Beech Hill Preserve
Every morning at breakfast we would discuss where we should go and what we should do that day. While placing something fresh from the oven on the table, our hostess would always have a great suggestion..usually followed by a welcomed brochure.
One morning was especially beautiful and we decided to go to the Beech Hill Preserve, a conservation property owned by the Coastal Mountains Land Trust located close by in Rockport. Our goal was to hike up the trail to the summit where we would find the romantic stone “tea house”, named Beech Nut. Along the way, we hoped to see some special birds (Beech Hill is known to have over 100 species) and admire the large fields of wild blueberries…the small, sweet kind found only in Maine.
As soon as we got on the trail, we spied a sign identifying the native Wood Lily. We were told that when these lilies appear in the fields, the blueberries are ready to pick. We searched and found one! OK, we see the lily, but where are the blueberries?
We were almost at the summit, and still no sign of them….then something on the ground caught my eye…was it…yes, yes, it was. Right there were very low growing blueberry bushes, not the sturdy tall variety I was used to seeing. We’d been walking by them all along and our eyes were focused up and not down. Now that we knew where to look, they sprinkled the hillside like fairy dust.
Beech Nut looks like an enchanted cottage…could someone inside be spinning straw into gold? It was designed by Norwegian landscape designer, Hans O. Heistad and built in the early 1900’s out of stone with a sod roof in keeping with Norwegian tradition. The Gribbell family of Philadelphia who developed Beech Hill, used to meander up the curving trail in their buggy, admiring the scenery and carrying picnic hampers groaning with all of the trappings of a fine Victorian tea.
After their journey, they would have their tea overlooking the wonderful panoramic views of the Camden Hills, Penobscot Bay and the St. George Peninsula.
At Beech Hill you are asked to stay on the trail and not to pick the blueberries or the lilies, this land is dedicated to conserving not indulging. There is one day a year (this year, it’s TODAY) that you can go up and pick the tiny, blue treasures. So, if you’re in the neighborhood….
I thought that it might be fun to have an “old timey” dessert for family and friends for this week’s Sunday Supper…something that they might have served at high tea at the top of that hill on warm summer afternoons.
On a dusty shelf in an old antique shop I found a well worn copy of The American Heritage Cookbook. This book is filled with time honored recipes of the past; such a grunts, fools and flummery. By now, you probably know that I’m drawn to simple, tasty recipes. I chose to adapt this one, and I’m glad I did. It has a light, fluffy, fruity taste with a hint of lemon.
Oh, and you top it with crumbled macaroons (not to be confused with French macarons). I found these almond macaroons at my local bakery, but if you can’t find them your way, you could use crumbled sugar cookies. I added fresh blueberries as well for another texture to enjoy.
Old Fashioned Blueberry Fool Dessert Recipe
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
A light, fluffy, fruity dessert that is perfect for a hot summer evening.
2 pints fresh blueberries, reserving a few as garnish
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup crumbled macaroons (or sugar cookies)
Rinse berries (keeping a few for the garnish) add remainder to saucepan with 1/4 cup of water. Let simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes or till the fruit is very tender. Remove from the heat and place in a strainer over a bowl. Work the berries through the strainer with a spoon. While the fruit puree is still warm, stir in the sugar and the lemon zest. Place mixture in the fridge to cool.
Now you are going to whip the cream and fold it into the fruit puree. I like to place my bowl and the beaters that I'll be using in the freezer to chill. Using chilled bowl and beaters, add heavy cream and whip cream till it forms soft peaks.
Remove the fruit puree from the fridge and whisk mixture a bit to loosen it (it will be slightly jelled). Then fold in the whipped cream. Spoon into serving bowls and place in fridge till you are ready to serve.
When ready to serve, sprinkle crumbled cookies and blueberries on top.