With sweet, lightly stewed blackberries layered with tangy vanilla whipped cream and yogurt, this delicious Irish Blackberry Fool is easy to put together and universally loved. It’s perfect for both fancy dinner parties and casual nights at home!
Although this Irish Blackberry Fool has an unusual name, it’s incredibly delicious, make-ahead and is a hit with sweet lovers of all ages! Pair it with these crisp, buttery, Irish Shortbread Cookies and before you know it, your family/guests will think they’ve taken a magic carpet ride to the beautiful Emerald Isles.
What is a (dessert) fool?
We all know what a fool is in the non-culinary sense, so I won’t go into that, but a “fool” in the dessert world refers to a classic sweet treat that is common all throughout the United Kingdom. It originally consisted of fruit (usually gooseberries) that were stewed or thickened, then layered or swirled with sweet custard. These days, a fool is similar, but can be made with any kind of fruit and whipped cream is often substituted for the custard, producing a lovely, light dessert.
What’s the history of a (dessert) fool?
According to Epicurious, the word fool (when it comes to dessert), is derived from the French word fouler, which is a verb meaning, “to crush”, which refers to the crushed fruits that are layered or swirled into custard or cream. There is also an opinion that “fool” comes from the French word fou, or mad, and refers to the mixed-up (swirled) consistency of the fruit and cream.
A lighter version
Although the origins may be somewhat obscure, there’s no questioning that this Irish Blackberry Fool dessert is super delicious. The creamy portion of a fool is generally made with heavy cream that’s been sweetened and whipped. I used a half and half ratio of Greek yogurt and whipped cream. The yogurt adds a delicious tang and also lightens up the dessert a bit, from a calorie and fat content.
A pizzazz-ier version
The blackberry portion of this Irish Blackberry Fool is simply fresh (or frozen) blackberries that are sweetened and simmered with lemon until the juices get nice and syrupy. For an extra pop of flavor, I like to add a splash of Grand Marnier as the berries simmer. The Grand Marnier is optional, as this dessert will also be delicious without the alcohol.
Why is this an Irish Blackberry Fool?
You might be wondering what makes this particular dessert Irish? There are actually several things. First of all, fools are common desserts in Ireland as well as throughout England, Scotland and Wales. You’ll find them served at small Irish pubs as well as fancy special occasion restaurants all over Ireland. Secondly, although Ireland doesn’t have an official national fruit, wild blackberries grow prolifically throughout the countrysides, clambering along hedges and walls, taking root wherever they touch the ground. Because of their abundance and delicious flavor, blackberries could easily be called Ireland’s favorite berry.
Lastly, I’m calling this dessert an Irish Blackberry Fool because I just seem to have Ireland on the brain lately. That’s probably due to the fact that Scott and I are taking off next week for a three-week visit to the Emerald Isle. We can hardly wait!
Enjoying and exploring Irish food here at home has been a fun way to anticipate our trip. And I couldn’t think of a more delicious way to anticipate than with a pretty goblet of this blackberry fool, served with a few crisp buttery Irish Shortbread Cookies. And, of course, cheerful shamrock-green napkins!
Café Tips for making this Irish Blackberry Fool recipe:
- Feel free to substitute raspberries, currants, strawberries or blueberries for the blackberries in this recipe.
- These blackberry fools can be made early in the day and refrigerated. Pull them out about 20 minutes before serving to take off the chill.
- I love to serve this Irish Blackberry Fool with a crisp, plain cookie like these Irish Shortbread Cookies.
- Serve this dessert in individual glass bowls or a large trifle bowl and allow guests to serve themselves.
- I love these pretty Weck jars for serving desserts. They are casual and elegant at the same time and have lids to make the desserts easily transportable; and personal!
- You can use an electric mixer to whip the cream for this recipe, but I find it easier to use a whisk and whip it by hand. It will take less than 2 minutes by hand and you have more control and less tendency to turn the cream to butter.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
With sweet, lightly stewed blackberries layered with tangy vanilla whipped cream and yogurt, this delicious Irish Blackberry Fool is easy to put together and universally loved. It's perfect for both fancy dinner parties and casual nights at home!
- 3 cups fresh blackberries plus extra for garnish
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier optional
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 4 teaspoons cold water
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- mint leaves for garnish
Combine the blackberries, Grand Marnier, lemon juice and sugar in a medium-size saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a steady simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes until the mixture is begging to get syrupy and berries start to lose their shape. Set aside to cool completely.
- Combine the gelatin and water in a small microwave-safe bowl and stir well. Place bowl in the microwave for 15 seconds. Stir and set aside to cool a bit.
In a medium-size, clean bowl, whisk the cream for 1-2 minutes until it starts to thicken a bit. Add the gelatin mixture, powdered sugar and vanilla and continue whisking till soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes more.
Place yogurt in a medium-size bowl and add the whipped cream using a folding motion until combined.
To finish: Layer the blackberry syrup and the cream mixture in 6 clear glass bowls, jars or glasses (¾-1 cup). Garnish with fresh berries and mint leaves
See Café Tips above for further instruction and more detailed tips.
The number of servings will depend on the size of your glasses, jars or bowls. I got 6 servings, using 8 ounce jars.
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