I have a backyard garden here in Philadelphia in my postage stamp of a backyard and one of the plants I’m growing is a gooseberry bush. Gooseberry? You might ask; what the heck is a gooseberry? They are a small, tart fruit that is harvested in early summer from the spiney gooseberry bush. They are found indigenously in Europe (especially Great Britain), Asia, India and some parts of Africa. They are sparsely naturalized here in the United States and Canada, but sometimes can be found in canned form in grocery stores. I actually had no idea this was the case, as I grew up picking and eating gooseberries from a bush on my family’s property in northeastern Pennsylvania. My mother propagated some of her bush for me, so that I can enjoy these tart berries as well!
That being said, you may need to find a friend who grows these in order to make this recipe…sorry…but I had to share this recipe, because it’s so delicious! If you can’t find gooseberries, fresh currants are a good substitute (although also difficult to find unless you know someone who’s growing them) or another good substitute that is a little easier to find would be cape gooseberries (also called ground cherries or golden berries)
Since gooseberries aren’t really a “thing” in the United States, a lot of recipes that I have found regarding gooseberries are British and use the metric system of measurement and some hard to find ingredients–but don’t worry I have adapted this to an American audience and it tastes great!
It tastes so great in fact, that my son, husband and I devoured half of it already since I made it last night!
If you find someone who has a gooseberry bush, beg, borrow, and steal (just kidding) from them some gooseberries and try this out! Also if tarts aren’t your thing, gooseberries are good in jellies, jams, pies, chutneys and much more!
For the Filling:
2 Cups Fresh Gooseberries (or currants or cape gooseberries)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1&1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
Confectioners sugar, for dusting
For the pastry:
3/4 Cup Unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
5 Tbls Very Cold, Unsalted Butter
1 Egg Yolk
A little bit of ice cold water (around two tablespoons or so)
Preheat Oven to 355°F.
Process flour and sugar in a food processor for a few pulses. Chop the cold butter into chunks and add to the flour and sugar. Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and put the mixture into a mixing bowl. Set aside. Mix the egg yolk with the ice cold water, add to flour mixture and mix with your hands until pastry can be formed into a soft ball. Lightly flour a rolling pin and roll dough out on a floured surface, large enough to cover a 10″, butter greased, tart pan or pie pan. Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Top and tail (take the stems and flower tails off) the gooseberries.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract. Set aside.
Remove pastry from refrigerator and pierce the base several times with a fork. Cover dough with parchment paper and pie weights or rice and blind bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven (leaving the oven on), remove the paper, pastry weights or rice and let cool slightly.
Fill pastry with gooseberries and pour over the egg filling. Bake for 30-40 minutes until center is just firm. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve warm or chilled with whipped cream. Enjoy!