One of my motivations to start a food blog was to share experiences about food and cooking across my diverse community of friends. I would love more friends to share recipes, stories, and memories as guest bloggers, but not everyone is comfortable or has the time to share.
I love sharing recipes and stories, but I want the blog to be more about just me — I want to create community. I want to give people ideas, sure, but I also want to, well, I don’t know… DO stuff.
And then the latest issue of Bon Appetit came, and it was all so clear. Virtual cooking dates! Everybody make the same thing, over relatively the same time period, and then shares about it if they choose.
Raspberry Fool with Toasted Angel Food Cake looked simple yet elegant, and easily customizable. I shared the recipe with a bunch of friends and asked them to put their own twist on it over the same time period.
The results were pretty spectacular. I made two versions myself (confession: it was all I could do not to eat an entire cake in one sitting), and a couple friends shared their own variations — including a couple pictures. It’s not quite the same thing as hopping on a plane to see an old friend or meet a virtual one, but it does make me feel a little more connected.
Here is the original recipe, followed by the variations. What other ways might you serve this treat?
Raspberry Fool with Toasted Angel Food Cake
2 1/2 cups raspberries (about 12 oz.)
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, plus more for serving
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
4 cups 1-inch pieces angel food cake (from about 1/3 of a cake)
Preheat oven to 375°. Spread cake pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast until edges are golden brown but centers are still soft, 8–10 minutes. Let cool; set aside.
Using a fork, coarsely mash raspberries, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. lime zest in a small bowl. Let sit 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat cream, crème fraîche, and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a medium bowl until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Layer cake, raspberry mixture, and cream mixture in glasses or small bowls; top with lime zest.
* * *
RHRW version #1: omit the lime zest,. Top bowls with grated chocolate, and serve with cordial glasses of raspberry wine (I like Doukenie Winery‘s raspberry merlot dessert wine)
RHRW version #2: layer cake, berries and whipped cream in 1/2-pint (or smaller) mason jars. Screw on lids and store in the refrigerator. Send them with your dinner guests as to-go desserts, or pack them for tomorrow’s lunch.
Nina’s version: substitute angel food cake for a gluten-free almond pound cake made with almond flour. Replace sour cream with Marscapone.
Carrie’s version: Add a dash of cardamom to the raspberries. When beating the cream, add a splash of Vermont maple balsamic vinegar. When assembling the dessert, layer in a little toasted coconut.