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Elderberry Fool

Elderberry Fool The weighty cassis like flavor of elderberries is transformed here into a happy, fluffy, Fool. The whipped cream becomes a thick lilac poof with a rich purple elderberry syrup ribboned around the parfait glass. It looks so creamy you’re quite surprised by the fine crunch in every spoonful. The tiny elderberry seeds are a surprising textural counterpoint. Don’t strain the seeds out. They’re a vital delight in this simple dessert.

Serves 6

For The Elderberry Syrup:

  • 1 pound elderberries, stems removed
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  1. Place the elderberries in a large mesh strainer over a bowl or pot. Using a wooden spoon, crush and bress the berries, working them back and forth in the strainer, to extract all the juice. You should have ½ to ¾ cup of juice.
  2. Combine the juice, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, or until thickened. Chill for at least 4 hours or before using.

For The Elderberry Compote:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup elderberries, stems removed
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Place the sugar, ¼ cup water, and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally, and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the elderberries and bring back to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or measuring cup. Save the liquid and set aside the berries.
  4. Place the liquid back in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced to a syrupy consistency, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat. Add the berries back into the syrup and stir in the lemon juice.
  6. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight before using.

For The Fool:

  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup elderberry syrup (above)
  • Reserved elderberry compote (above)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  1. Make sure the elderberry syrup and compote are cold.
  2. Combine the cream, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whip until the cream holds a firm, not stiff, creamy peak.
  3. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the syrup and half the compote into the cream, creating a swirled effect with visible streaks of cream and elderberry. Fold using a minimum of strokes, so as not to lose the loft of the cream.
  4. Divide the fool among 6 dessert glasses or dishes. Just before serving, top with the remaining compote and the lemon zest.

Tips and Techniques

The fools can be assembled several hours ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve. In that case, save the final topping the compote and lemon zest until just before serving.

The compote will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.

If you have some cream and keep some extra compote and syrup on hand, the fools can be a great last-minute dessert and will come together in a matter of minutes.

Substitutions and Variations

Other berries, such as huckleberries, blueberries, mulberries, raspberries, blackberries, and more, can be substituted for the elderberries.

The fool mixture can be made into a trifle by spreading it between layers of crumbled cake or cookies.