A fool is a creamy British dessert that may date back as far as the 15th century. Clearly, it's a crowd-pleaser, and ours is easy, too: You make a sauce from cranberries and pear juice, whip some cream, and layer into glasses along with crumbled spice cookies. Right before serving, nestle a few frozen raspberries and blackberries on top—they'll shimmer like little ornaments—and stick in a biscuit. 

Martha Stewart Living, November 2021


Credit: Dana Gallagher

Recipe Summary

25 mins
2 hrs 35 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine cranberries, pear juice, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook until cranberries are softened and most have burst, about 10 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Set aside 3/4 cup cooked cranberries.

  • Purée remainder with 1 1/2 cups blackberries, then pass through a coarse-mesh sieve (to remove seeds; you should have about 1 1/2 cups). If needed, stir in more juice to create a thick but pourable consistency (it should be thicker than honey).

  • Whip cream to soft peaks. Fold 1/4 cup purée into cream, leaving some streaks. Into each of 6 glasses, spoon or pipe a few tablespoons of whipped-cream mixture. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon purée; add a few cooked cranberries and some of remaining 1 1/2 cups blackberries. Sprinkle with crumbled cookies. Repeat layering, finishing with a drizzle of purée. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. Serve each glass sprinkled with whole fresh or frozen berries and garnished with a cookie.

Cook's Notes

For a festive finish, freeze your berries on a baking sheet and add them to your parfaits straight from the freezer; they'll look festive and taste like tiny sorbet bites.