Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fool for Love - Strawberry Fool and No-Bake Strawberry Crisp for Novel Food #12

Strawberries in Sugar

In a home of, literally, thousands of books, I sometimes find it, usually on my serendipitous way to hunting down another title. There is no Dewey Decimal System here. While it's been at least fifteen years since I purchased A Book of Love Poetry, edited by Jon Stallworthy for Oxford University Press, it never fails to set off palpitations the way it did when I first pulled it off the shelf.

It was factory fresh then and free of the yellowing, vignetted pages which one grows fonder of as everything and everyone go through the passage of time. I fan through those pages, snagging a thumb here and there as it lands on the familiar Neruda, Shelley, and Cummings entries; the sorrows and the pities of Hardy and Yeats; and the meandering Baudelaire and Ovid, translated as meanderingly from the Latin without a word spared.

Today I tick off one page, from a Scottish poet I rarely see in print. Edwin Morgan's Strawberries has the power to catch the reader as the glistening small, red fruits catch the eye of the gatherer who crouches to collect them. The verse is sweet and colorful, elusively erotic, and jubilates in elemental love and a love of the elements. It is light and full of vapors both heady and poignant; it is remarkably free of clutter. It has my undying devotion.

I could have agonized over a Charlotte, or fussed with a tray of Linzer Tarts, all gloriously dramatic in their celebrations of romance. Yet it is the simple fold of fruit into cream, and a buttery crumble of cookie on briefly baked berries which I choose to share for the aiming of the arrow. For Strawberries, any other recipe would have been Love's Labour's Lost in the details.

Strawberry Fool

Strawberry Fool - A recipe of ancient provenance in the public domain

Serves 2.


4 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, stemmed, and hulled
1/4 - 1/3 cup superfine sugar
1 cup whipping cream


In a large bowl, toss strawberries in sugar. Let macerate for ten minutes. In meantime, beat the whipping cream in a chilled metal bowl until nearly stiff peaks form. Purée sugared strawberries in a blender. Gently fold purée into whipped cream. Spoon into individual cups for immediate serving or cover bowl to refrigerate.

Easy No-Bake Strawberry Crisp

Easiest Strawberry Crisp - My own idea, although I'm sure it is not original

Serves 2.


2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, stemmed, and hulled
2 large shortbread cookies, crushed
1 small handful walnuts (or other nut of your choice), coarsely chopped
Ground cinnamon


Mix shortbread with nuts. Toss in a dry skillet over low heat until lightly toasted and fragrant. Reserve. Divide strawberries into 2 microwave-safe bowls or ramekins, positioning them with their bottoms up. Microwave very briefly, under a minute, until they have gently collapsed and begin sputtering their juices. Watch carefully; they can turn mushy if cooked a few seconds too long. Remove from microwave (bowls will be hot), and scatter toasted topping over strawberries. Finish with a dash of cinnamon. Serve immediately.


This post and these recipes are for Simona of Briciole and Lisa of Champaigne Taste who are co-hosting their quarterly Novel Food, an enduring event featuring appetizing and inspiring meals in the novels, biographies, plays, and poems that we read and relish.

Been There, Done That ~

Yellow Raspberry Rosemary Crisp
Almond Cherry Mini Tarts
Baklava Figs

Other People's Eats~
Blackberry Fool with Calvados from Yum Sugar
Homemade "Pop Tarts" from Chez Pim
Persimmon Fool from White on Rice Couple
Dried-Fruit Apple Crisp from The Perfect Pantry
Strawberry Jam with Black Pepper and Fresh Mint from Chocolate and Zucchini


  1. delightful, just delightful Susan! I love the top photo! For a second, I thought it was a paper plate. Then I realised you dusted some flour/sugar on it. :)

  2. Two divine ways of preparing strawberries!



  3. Happy Valentine's day Susan, both desserts with strawberries looks absolutely marvellous..

  4. Tow delicious ways to show them they are loved. Happy Valentine's Day!1

  5. loved the s'berry crisp--looks swell

  6. I also featured berries for my Novel Food entry--we must all be longing for spring!

    Kudos for featuring a love poem at the appropriate holiday, too!

  7. Such a beautiful poem and so very evocative. Strawberries are indeed the perfect fruit of love: they even look like little hearts, don't they. :) Have a great Valentine's Day, Susan!

  8. tempting post....looks absolutely yum n delicious..perfect for vday

  9. I enjoyed reading that poem, thank you Susan. A lovely post for Novel Food.

  10. delicious both desserts look wonderful

  11. i didn't know the poem, so I am thankful that you featured it. Very nice choices in both the literary and culinary field. I particularly like the top photo. Thank you so much for contributing this to Novel Food!

  12. i love how you said it's your original idea but prob the not the 1st time it's been done! It looks scrumptious! Love it! Hope you had a great V-day!

  13. Two delicious & simple ways to celebrate strawberries! I can't way to get seasonal strawberries here... :-)

  14. Very romantic, Susan. The strawberries look divine-love the colors you've put together.

  15. The photographs are soooo good Susan! I feel like having a bowlful of the strawberry and cream.. NOW. am having fresh strawberries right now. wish i had some cream. The crisp sounds awesome too.

  16. I love getting lost in my books.... For me, the one that always catches my eye (and 'wastes' the most of my time) is The Rubiyat. But I'll flip open almost any of my favorites and read a passage or two. I should do that more often....
    Oh - the strawberries all look wonderful! (6 weeks before the season here)

  17. Getting lost in a good book is a thing of joy - especially if there is strawberry fool at the end :)

  18. Thank you, Anh. It is sugar. It's lovely when the eye plays tricks.

    Rosa - Thanks always.

    Priya - Thanks so much. : }

    Val - Thanks. Strawberries = Love.

    Priya - Welcome! Thanks very much.

    Ruhama - Although I don't think the Northeast has suffered nastier weather than the Midwest, I am glad for the approach of spring - and I am one who loves winter.

    Hi, Vaishali. Thank you, dear heart. Yes, they do, indeed, look like little hearts.

    Sana - Thank you. Good to see you!

    Thank you, Akheela. : }

    Simona - Thank you. Very happy to participate in Novel Food. Morgan is not very well known outside scholarly and Euro circles - a shame.

    Welcome, Bren! Thank so very much. I take great pains to research, but sometimes a recipe of such simplicity is begotten in your own head, and yet you know it's not really unique.

    Vanessa - Hello! Thank you very much.

    Hi, Lynne. Thank you. So much of this was on the intuitive fly. I'm glad you enjoyed it. : )

    Soma - Thanks so much, you sweetie.

    Katie - "The Rubiyat". HUGE sigh. One of my favorite hedonistic (and secular) texts, contemplative but not excruciatingly analytic. Yes, I have it here, somewhere. And thank you for kudos on my berries.

    Kelly-Jane - So thrilled to see you here again. : )

  19. Love any kind of berry fool and this looks terrific...In love with that pink :-)

  20. Your images are too gorgeous... and I love, love, LOVE the heart-shaped dish. Divine.
    Robyn x

  21. Gulmohar - Thank you! The berries imparted a lovely natural tint.

    Hi, Robyn! Good to see you. Thanks so much. Once a year it *is* all about love. ; }