They taste as good as they look, and with Rachel Allen's help, they couldn't be any easier to make!


For the Fool

  • 6 large fresh ripe apricots (about 450g/1lb with stones)
  • 125g (4½oz) caster or granulated sugar
  • 200ml (7fl oz) double or regular cream (measured before whisking)

For the Cardamom Shortbread Fingers

  • 150g (5oz) plain flour
  • 50g (2oz) caster sugar
  • ½ tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds (from about 16 green cardamom pods)
  • 100g (3½oz) butter, cubed


  1. Cut the apricots in half and remove the stones. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and 2 tablespoons water over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar then cook, covered, for 10–15 minutes until the apricots are completely soft. If there is any liquid in the bottom of the pan, continue to cook, uncovered, to allow it to evaporate until the juices are thick. Place in a blender and whiz, then allow to cool.
  2. The mixture should be quite a thick purée. If it's not thick enough, you'll need to put the purée back on the heat and allow it to cook, uncovered and while stirring regularly, until it's a bit thicker. If it's too liquidy, the fool will not be fluffy.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
  4. While it's cooling, you can whisk the cream until not quite, but almost, stiff.
  5. Fold the cream into the apricot purée. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4.
  7. To make the cardamom shortbread fingers, place the flour in a bowl with the sugar and the cardamom and mix, then rub in the butter and squeeze in your hands to bring it together to form a dough.
  8. Alternatively, you could bring the ingredients together very briefly in a food processor.
  9. Roll the dough out until 5mm (1/4in) thick, keeping it in a square or a rectangle. Pierce it all over with a skewer or fork, then cut it into twelve fingers about 10 x 2cm (4 x 3/4in) in size.
  10. Place on a baking tray (no need to grease or line) and bake for 5–8 minutes until light golden. Take out and let stand on the tray for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  11. Serve the shortbread fingers with the apricot fool.