Nothing better than a fresh yet indulgent dessert (with some very lovely South African dessert wines from Mullineux and Newton Johnson)…

I was searching for some recipes of easy desserts for the mini-cookout and stumbled across several “Fruit Fools”. A Fruit Fool turns out to be an ancient recipe: it is even traced back to 15th century England. It made by folding stewed fruit (classically gooseberries but also fruits and berries like apples, strawberries, rhubarb, and raspberries were used) into a sweet custard. Modern fool recipes more often use whipped cream rather than custard and may include pretty much any seasonal fruits.

On Serious Eats, I found this lovely tropical version. The addition of Greek yogurt and toasted coconut to the whipped cream makes this a delicious dessert which is not that heavy at all.

The Recipe

  • 3 cups fresh pineapple pieces, chopped (from a medium/large pineapple)
  • 2 tbsp sugar (and more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (and more to taste)
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 mangos, peeled and diced
  • 250ml / 1 cup heavy cream
  • 80ml / ¼ cup Greek-style yogurt
  1. Preheat your oven to 180℃/355℉
  2. Spread the coconut evenly across a baking tray and lightly toast in the oven. Keep an eye on it as it will brown quite fast and quite suddenly.
  3. Place the pineapple pieces and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the fruit has softened and the mixture becomes jammy, about 15-20 minutes. Mine didn’t, but if the pineapple starts looking too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Adjust to taste with additional sugar and lemon juice. Chill until completely cold before using, about an hour.
  5. Using a mixer, whip the cream on high speed to soft peaks. Carefully fold in the Greek yogurt, pineapple compote, and half of the toasted coconut, keeping the whipped cream as aerated as possible.
  6. Spoon the pineapple cream into glasses, alternating layers with the fresh mango pieces. Top with remaining toasted coconut.
  7. Serve chilled.

To go with our dessert, we had 2 South African Dessert wines: a 2013 Straw Wine from Mullineux and a 2012 L’illa from Newton Johnson that I purchased at A nice comparison as both are Chenin grape-based, but very different results due to the vinification.

The 2013 Mullineux (5 ⭐️ Platter’s and 96 Wine Advocate) from the Swartland region is a so-called Straw Wine which infers that the grapes that have been dried to concentrate their juice. The classic methodology is sun drying the grapes on mats of straw, hence the name.

Mullineux harvests the Chenin grapes at normal ripeness level and then dries them outside in the shade until half “raisined” before starting 12-month fermentation. This is a super intense, yet balanced wine. A huge hit of dried stone fruit honey and nutty aromas of almonds and marzipan, with a very long aftertaste. The accolades are well deserved as it is a superb wine! I got the 2013 last year and is no longer available, the 2015  version (also 5 ⭐️ and Dessert Wine of the Year in Platter’s) is available for EUR 25 for a 375ml bottle.

The 2012 L’illa (4 ⭐️ Platter’s, EUR 13 for a 375ml bottle) comes from the Eilandia ward (a small wine district halfway between Robertson and Worcester, so quite a bit up north from the Upper Hemel-and-Aarde Valley where Newton Johnson is based) and is a so-called Noble Late Harvest wine.

The Late Harvest is an indication of sweet dessert wines that obviously refers to grapes left on the vine longer than usual, naturally dehydrating on the vine. The Noble part refers to botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot, a mold that causes grapes to lose nearly all of their water content, increasing the sweetness of the affected grapes.

Organically produced and after 15 months in barrels, it resulted in a sweet, yet quite fresh wine with loads of dried tropical fruit and vanilla. It was – to our surprise –  quite a bit less sweet than the Mullineux, but in view of the pineapple and mango we used in the dessert, it was a slightly better pairing of the two. We had no problems though comparing both wine until the bottles were empty…

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