Any fruit (typically gooseberries, apricots, apple, strawberries) boiled, strained, chilled and folded into a thickening agent such as whipped cream or custard.
Image: Alex Bray...
The origin of the word is unclear. It does not seem to be associated with the French 'fouler' to crush. Possibly it comes directly from 'fool' for 'silly person', as just another way of saying that a little sweet dessert is a trivial or unimportant thing, as in 'trifle' or 'whim-wham'.
It occurs in an entry in J. Florio's Italian-English dictionary of 1598 'Worlde of Wordes'; "Mantiglia, a kinde of clouted creame called a foole or a trifle in English." And again in Ben Jonson's 1637 'Sad Shepherd'; "Your cheese-cakes, curdes, and clawted creame, Your fooles, your flaunes."
Randle Holme's 'The academy of armory; or, A storehouse of armory and blazon' of 1688 has; "Foole is a kind of Custard, but more crudelly; being made of Cream, Yolks of Eggs, Cinamon, Mace boiled: and served on Sippets with sliced Dates, Sugar, and white and red Comfits, strawed thereon."
Red Berry Fool
Trifle - Old Type
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