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blissful eats with tina jeffers: Strawberry Fool

It’s not quite strawberry season in my garden yet but I when I saw the first local berries appear at the market this week I couldn’t resist.  There are a few things that I refuse to buy when they are out of season and strawberries are at the top of the list.  Eating with the seasons makes the anticipation of their arrival all that more exciting.   Strawberries that haven’t been produced to be shipped across the continent tend to be more fragile and you need to eat them within a day or two of purchase but their vibrant perfumed sweetness blows their bland, tasteless supermarket counterparts away.  I have always loved the combination of berries and cream but wanted to lighten it up a bit so this is my take on a traditional English fool or Eton mess. 

Traditional fools are usually a combination of pureed fruit, whipped cream and sugar layered together.  This is more a combination of a fool and an Eton Mess, a mixture of meringue, softly whipped cream and fresh fruit.  I wanted an alternative to heavy cream and decided to use Greek yogurt instead, it lends a tangy bite to the dish and the addition of the balsamic and black pepper adds a nice little contrast to the sweetness of the berries.  If you don’t want to take the time to make your own meringues you could easily pick up a package of meringue cookies at the grocery store.  The cookies couldn’t be easier to make, any they’ll keep for a long time so it’s easy to bake them a few days before you want to serve them.  The next time you are looking for a quick, easy dessert to impress your company give this dish a try!


Strawberry Fool



For the meringue:

2 large egg whites

2/3 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped

½ teaspoon almond extract


For the berries:

2 cups strawberries

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


To assemble:

1 cup greek yogurt

sliced almonds




For the meringues:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on medium-high speed in a medium bowl until white and foamy.  With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar by tablesoonfuls, beating until meringue is stiff and glossy.  Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean.  Add almond extract and continue to beat until vanilla is evenly dispersed.  Drop meringues by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet.  Alternatively you can pipe the meringues

Bake until dry and slightly golden about 90 minutes.  Let meringues cool on sheet (they will crisp as they cool)


For the berries:

Heat 1 cup strawberries, sugar and the vanilla extract or the vanilla bean seeds if using.  Cook the strawberries until berries just begin to soften and release their juices.  Remove from heat, stir in remaining berries and let cool completely.


To assemble:

Layer ¼ cup yogurt, ¼ cup berry mixture and crumble 2 or 3 meringue cookies.  Garnish with the almonds and some roughly torn basil and serve.

Reader Comments (9)

Oh my word does this sound good...and true confession...I have never tried fresh strawberries-but there is a french market here on Saturday and you better believe I will have my eye out for them!! YUM


May 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterabby

Okay. I have to make this. I am very pregnant and can't seem to eat enough berries! This looks absolutely divine! Thank you for sharing this! :)

May 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvy

Ok, I just have to get this out there, again, about how much I love love love this column! I make whatever is on here literally the minute after I see it. I love that I usually have all the ingredients on hand, and each and every one of the recipes are so special and unique. Thank you for sharing these lovely recipes Tina! I absolutely adore them. Now I'm going off to my kitchen to whip up some meringues! (and I just got home from the market with a fresh batch of strawberries)

May 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey Cronkhite

Strawberries and basil is brilliant. That looks absolutely delectable!

May 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Hazel

Really delicious post but I'm surprised that meringues can be cooked at 200 bc I would expect them to burn.

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPocared

I should have known better because I have made many, many pavlovas over the years but I was in a rush and wasn't thinking properly about the temp of the meringue, they obviously did burn. I think you may have meant to start at this temp and then turn it down quite soon after. Unfortunately, well it wasn't that bad, but I had to just serve strawberries and cream as I didn't have time for another batch.

May 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaneMG

Hi Jane,

The temp is for 200 degrees fahrenheit or 90 degrees celsius. Sorry for the confusion!


May 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTina Jeffers

Thanks so much Tina, i guess when you just listed 200 degrees i for some reason decided in my silly aussie head that it was C and I needed to convert it to F. I don't usually do that but I think I was just in a rush and got myself all confused. I'm going to make it again soon because it looks so lovely I can't get it out of my head. Sorry for being an idiot!!!

May 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaneMG

Hi, you mentioned on your ingredients that you need 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and yet you didn't mention it in how you used it to cook the strawberry. I really wana make this, but I'm confused as to how to cook the strawberries

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarje

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