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Am I a Fool to Look for Strawberry Pudding?

 My husband has been looking for a strawberry pudding recipe — it doesn't seem to exist. Might it be found in a specialty store or is it something that just can't be made? If strawberry pudding exists, could you send or post a recipe?

 Ah, fool! No, no, no. Not you — the name of one of the dishes you're looking for. There are a number of classic sweet, creamy desserts that are flavored with strawberry, a fool being only one of them. But, like you, we haven't come across one that goes by the precise name of Strawberry Pudding.

Indeed, pudding is a very inexact word these days — consider Yorkshire pudding, bread pudding, rice pudding, chocolate pudding, Kentish chicken pudding, Scandinavian fish pudding, and a steamed pudding such as Spotted Dick — all very different and yet all puddings. In the US, though, pudding is generally used to refer to a cooked custard or an uncooked cream.

There are really several ways you can go to get a strawberry pudding. You can make a fool, a classic English dessert of crushed fruit (traditionally gooseberries) folded into whipped cream or beaten egg white. Our recipe below is jazzed up a bit with orange.

You can also make a few modifications to a vanilla pudding to make a Strawberry Blancmange (in this case, we've done the work for you). You can make a simple Strawberry Mousse. You can follow Maida Heatter's directions to make an ersatz Strawberry Bavarian or Jacques Pépin's to make a Strawberry Clafoutis. You can also make an English Fresh Strawberry Pudding, which comes from a diabetic-oriented cookbook, and which makes use of sugar-free strawberry-flavored gelatin and low-fat non-dairy whipped topping.

Finally, if worse comes to worst or you run out of patience, you can buy a box of vanilla pudding mix at the grocery store and mix in strawberries to your heart's content.

Strawberry and Orange Fool

Fools are traditionally prepared with puréed fruit mixed with whipped cream, or egg custard, or a combination of the two. (The term fool comes from the French fouler, meaning "to crush.") Strawberry fool is best when the fruit is mashed rather than puréed, resulting in a more appealing texture.

Ingredients:

1 12-ounce basket fresh strawberries, hulled, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
1/3 cup plain yogurt (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur (optional)
Additional strawberries halved

Instructions:

Place chopped strawberries in medium bowl. Mash coarsely with fork. Place in colander and let drain 15 minutes.

Beat cream in large bowl to stiff peaks. Gently fold in yogurt, sugar, orange juice, and peel. Fold in Cointreau, if desired. Gently fold in strawberries. Divide among four wineglasses or coupes. Cover and chill. This can be made four hours ahead.

Garnish fools with additional halved strawberries and serve.

Yield: Serves 4



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