Tropical Fool


A fool is an old-fashioned British dessert. In the 17th century, a fool consisted of stewed fruit blended or mixed with custard. Nowadays, the simmered fruits are layered with, or folded into, whipped cream. Make sure you use perfectly ripe fruit for the fullest possible flavor.


  • cup (2 ounces) unsalted macadamia nuts

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • ½ large ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces

  • 4 ripe kiwis, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 small ripe papayas, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 ½ cups sugar

  • 1 vanilla bean (preferably Tahitian), split and scraped

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

  • ¼ cup dark rum

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon dark Muscovado, or dark-brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat nonstick baking mat. In a small bowl, coat nuts with honey. Spread nuts on the Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake until deep amber, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer nuts to a bowl to cool. Coarsely chop, and set aside.

  2. Place each fruit in its own bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, 3 cups water, vanilla bean, and lime juice. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and pour in rum. Pour enough syrup over each bowl of fruit to cover. Place a parchment-paper round on the surface of the fruit so that it is submerged in the liquid. Set aside until it cools to room temperature, about 2 hours. For more intense flavor, the fruit can be prepared up to this point a day in advance and refrigerated overnight.

  3. If necessary, remove fruit from refrigerator. Keeping it separate, place fruit into a sieve to drain; reserve syrup. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, puree kiwi and papaya separately until smooth, adding as much of the reserved syrup as necessary so that the puree is the consistency of applesauce. Transfer to separate bowls. Do not puree pineapple. Set bowls aside.

  4. In a chilled, medium stainless-steel bowl, using a large whisk, combine heavy cream and brown sugar. Whip cream until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.

  5. Spoon a small amount of the kiwi puree into the bottom of six 8-ounce parfait glasses. Spoon a small amount of whipped cream on top. Continue with pineapple and then papaya, alternating whipped cream with each layer of fruit, finishing with whipped cream. Sprinkle with toasted, chopped macadamia nuts. Serve immediately.

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