Ghana is not particularly big on desserts. However, a classic fruit-based one in Ghana and other parts of English-speaking countries of Africa is the “fool,” which in North America nowadays usually means a mixture of whipped cream and crushed fruit. In Ghana, it means a custard mixed with crushed, and usually cooked, fresh fruit like mango, papaya, or soursop.
I was taught to make this fool using “Bird’s custard powder,” invented in 1837 by the English chemist Alfred Bird, and containing corn flour, salt, vanilla, and annatto (for color). At Flair we used evaporated milk, as in this recipe. It can also be made including eggs, and/or substituting coconut milk for cow’s milk. This recipe is adapted from a papaya fool we made in Barbara’s kitchen.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Garnish as desired, e.g., fresh mango and/or papaya (pawpaw) slices, mint leaves, nuts, whipped cream, chopped peanuts or cashews, a little cinnamon, some mandarin orange slices, mango or cherry slices. Voila! Dessert is ready in just a few minutes.
If Bird’s Custard Powder is not available, substitute 4 tablespoons of any vanilla cooked custard mix. Don’t add any sugar until tasting near the end since American-style custard mixes have added sugar. The fruit could also simply be mixed in with whipped cream for another North American version.
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