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Make a "fool" for April Fool's Day

Laughing Fool by a Netherlandish artist, circa 1500

Happy April Fool’s Day! In honor of the occasion I thought you might want to make a “fool” of your own.

 A “fool” is an old-fashioned term for a pudding made of stewed or crushed fruit and cream and sugar. This recipe is for a fool from Boodles, a gentlemen’s club that was active during the Regency period and beyond. Located in St. James Street and founded in 1752 (though some sources say it was 1762), Boodles was named after the club’s original headwaiter, who squandered his inheritance.

Boodles started as a political club, but soon became known as a very proper, scandal-free club, quite refined and somewhat stodgy. Members were expected to dress properly for dinner, servants wore black knee breeches, and coins were reportedly boiled before being handed to members. The 5th duke of Devonshire and 18th century Whig politician Charles Fox belonged to Boodles. In more modern times, Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond spy novels, was a member.

Boodles club, on St. James Street in London

The following recipe is courtesy of Sally Roberts of Somerset, UK, who found it in a recipe collection of the Clarence Road Baptist Church in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England. For my US readers, I have put in parentheses items commonly found in US grocery stores to use if necessary in place of the British ingredients.

Boodles Orange Fool
Serves 4

  •  4 trifle sponge cakes, cubed (or use packaged ladyfingers)
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint) double cream (whipping cream)
  • 30 – 60 ml (2 - 4 tbsp.) caster sugar (see note)
  • grated rind and juice of two oranges
  • grated rind and juice of one lemon
  • orange and lemon rind and slices to decorate

Line the base and halfway up the sides of a large glass serving bowl or china dish with the cubed trifle sponge cakes. Whip the cream (be careful not to over whip—just till it holds soft peaks) with the sugar till it starts to thicken, then gradually whip in the fruit juices, adding the fruit rind towards the end. Carefully pour the creamed mixture into the bowl or dish, taking care not to dislodge the sponge. Cover and chill for 3-4 hours. Serve decorated with orange and lemon slices and rind.

Note: “Caster” or “castor” (American spelling) sugar is, by one account, a British name for confectioner’s sugar. But I have read that granulated sugar is the best substitute for it. Another source recommended milling granulated sugar, or crushing it with a rolling pin, before substituting it for castor sugar. 

Here's a Raspberry Fool, to give you an idea of what the dessert may look like

Note: All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


  1. Yummy! That looks delicious, Maureen. You've really got my mouth watering! Thanks for the tasty-sounding recipe and for enlightening my on so many things. :-) xo Jennifer

    1. You're welcome, Jennifer! Hope you had a happy April Fool's day!

  2. Maureen,

    I just reread this blog post. My that fool does look yummy! I love raspberries! We should try to make one sometime!

    - Momma Cat


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