It's interesting that my 1970s edition of the Joy of Cooking says of fruit fools that "long ago the word 'fool' was used as a term of endearment." Others claim it comes from the French word "fouler," which means to mash or crush, while according to The Food Timeline, citing the Oxford English Dictionary, a more accurate explanation of its origin is likely its link to the "trifle," or "a bit of foolishness."
I picked up a papaya from the supermarket today, but it is nowhere near ripe, so I decided to make a mango fool instead. It is also hard to get ripe sweet mangos here in central Pennslvania, so I substituted mango pulp from India (see the can in the photo), which also meant eliminating the preliminary steps of peeling chopping, pureeing, and cooking the fruit. However, the canned pulp also has sugar added, which made for a somewhat sweeter fool than would be common in Ghana. Today I'll just go step by step with the process I used, and later, when it ripens, I'll explain how to use fresh papaya to make a "pawpaw" fool.
Recipe #31: Step-by-step Mango Fool
1 3/4 cups canned mango puree
3 1/2 Tablespoons custard powder
about 3/4 cup water
1/2 cup evaporated milk
In a separate pan, slightly heat the remaining 1/4 cup of evaporated milk, then stir it into the water/milk/custard powder mix to prevent the custard from forming lumps.
Turn a burner on the stove to medium low and begin heating the mango puree. Stir it to make sure it does not stick.
Place the custard pan over another burner and cook the custard several minutes on medium low heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until it thickens. Remove from the heat. If it seems very thick, stir in a few Tablespoons of water (I needed to do this today), and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
Using a whisk, gradually mix the custard into the heated mango puree, stirring vigorously and letting it cook for a few minutes. Do not add any additional sugar.