Tudor Cooking with Claire – A fool

Posted By on October 6, 2017

Phew! I’ve just recorded my 15th “Tudor Cooking with Claire” video and the latest recipe is a Tudor fool.

Today, an English fool is a dessert made by mixing stewed or puréed fruit with cream or custard, but a medieval or Tudor fool was a creamy custard with or without bread soaked into it.

My recipe, as I explain in the video, is inspired by Gervase Markham’s Tudor “Norfolk Fool” recipe and a Stuart recipe “Elizabeth Cromwell’s Fool”, which had the twist of soaking the bread in sherry – yum!

It’s simple, but delicious, and it’s certainly one I’ll be making again. After doing the video, I also tried a baked version (baking for about an hour) and that was lovely too.

Here’s the video:

You can catch the other fourteen “Tudor Cooking with Claire” videos in a playlist on The Anne Boleyn Files YouTube channel – click here.

4 thoughts on “Tudor Cooking with Claire – A fool”

  1. Barbara hesselgrave says:

    Hi Claire-
    I wonder if this was a precursor to the traditional Trifle? If you made a cooked version of yours, and then refrigerated you could top w whipped cream – that might be a nice version (and what’s not to like about whipped cream on anything?) But the bread might have been switched for the sponge cake, do we know if the origin of trifle is English, or maybe from the continent? thanks for sharing..!

    1. Claire says:

      I think the words fool and trifle were used interchangeably for this type of dessert and, yes, it is English. Thomas Dawson, in his late 16th century book “The Good Housewife’s Jewel” has a recipe for “trifle” which is thick cream seasoned with sugar, ginger and rosewater. Markham has a “trifle” recipe under his “Norfolk Fool” recipe and it is thick cream mixed with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, so just spiced and sweetened cream. The sponge in our modern English trifle, and the egg yolks that make the cream more of a custard, come from the 16th century fool recipes.

  2. elizabeth holcomb says:

    like the way you use your hands to cook…my x-mother in law…whose family was from scotland…would make a fool for christmas dinner…but she used lady fingers and lots of fruit

  3. Christine says:

    Hi Claire just thought I’d let you and other AB followers know that M&S are selling a Tudor pie on their Xmas food to order, don’t know if it’s on their website but iv got the booklet I picked up from instore, however it probably isn’t really like the pie the Tudors ate but it does look delicious, I know you have a Marks in Spain but can you still get the food?

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