I have a small cheering team that makes this blogger super happy. No matter how sloppy or cute or late my posts have been over the past four months I have had some of my friends always taking the time to read and compliment and encourage me. They may think it’s no big deal to read a story, a memoir, or just plain foolishness but to me it is huge; it makes me believe that I’ve been heard. I have had a few requests for recipes from these lovely people and I am slowly getting around to cooking for them.
A request from a childhood school friend came in that read somewhat like this: “Make some cheese cake. I will be happy reading and looking at pictures that will encourage me to pick some up from the cake shop”. Have you ever heard of such a crazy request before? I know I haven’t, and I know not to expect anything less hilarious from her. We were fast buddies in grade seven, partners in crime, and regular candidates for being ‘thrown out ‘ of class for excessive talking. Since we share this history I just had to oblige her request.
A cheesecake is what she likes, but, as she has already professed, there is no hope in hell she will ever take the trouble to make one. Right? Right? (Just agree with me, KT!) So I looked up my “Desserts and Puddings” cookbook that I had purchased from the Calcutta Book Fair when I was in grade seven. I found just the inspiration: a Fool! For the ultimate twist, some almond crunch to round it up. When put together it makes a nutty fool; something rings very familiar about this
(like someone I know).
Here you go, KT. I have a recipe for you that is just as delicious as the labour-intensive cheesecake but without the fuss, without much cooking involved, and without eggs! You hear me, NO EGGS! This will please you, I have no doubt. After all it isn’t too hard to please you. Remember when you happily ate an entire packet of flower seeds (sent by a penpal in the mail), thinking they were ‘mouri’ (fennel seeds)? Remember? Ha ha! There you go!
So, here it is, delivered as promised. And fret not, the rest of you … patience, patience, I am busy working on your requests too and it’s going to be here … all in good time.
YOU NEED (for the Fool)
- Strawberry: 1 cup diced
- Sugar: ½ cup
- Ginger powder: a pinch
- Whipping cream: 1 cup
- Cream cheese: 1 cup
YOU NEED (for the Almond Crunch topping and base)
- Sugar: ¼ cup + ½ tablespoon
- Almonds: ¼ cup sliced for brittle
- Water: ¼ cup
- Ground ginger: 1 pinch (optional)
- Almonds: ¼ cup slivered for crunch
- Butter: ½ teaspoon + 1 tablespoon
- Shortbread cookies crushed or graham cracker crumbs: 4 tablespoons
HOW TO MAKE THE ALMOND CRUNCH:
- For the brittle that goes on to, take ¼ cup sugar in a sauce pan, pour ¼ cup water and set to boil. Do not stir. Let the sugar boil till al the water is dissolved and it bubbles.
- While the sugar is getting ready, toast your almond slices very lightly. Cool and spread on a parchment paper.
- The sugar should be done when it forms a very light brown color (not yellow but darker). Sugar can be tested by dropping in a glass of water to see if it is holding shape. Immediately take off heat and add ½ teaspoon butter and stir. Pour over the toasted almond slices on the parchment. Sprinkle with some ground ginger and let cool completely.
- For the almond crunch for base, toast the slivered almonds. Add the ground shortbread cookies or graham cracker crumbs, the 1 tablespoon butter. Take off heat and stir with ½ tablespoon sugar. Let cool.
HOW TO MAKE THE STRAWBERRY FOOL:
- Puree strawberries with ¼ cup sugar and a pinch of ginger powder until mixture is slightly chunky, set aside.
- Whisk whipping cream until it forms soft peaks, set aside.
- Whisk cream cheese with the remainder of the sugar until sugar is well incorporated. Fold in the whipped cream by hand using a rubber spatula. Fold in strawberry mixture until just swirled through.
- Take your serving bowl or cup and sprinkle some of the almond cookie crunch, then top with the whipped strawberry cream. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- To serve garnish with a piece of almond brittle.
- Enjoy on a hot summers day!