I love tart English fruit. Rhubarb, Redcurrants, Damsons and through the summer when most of our summer berries are red – along come gooseberries. Lovely pale green, sometimes golden or red flecked, hairy goosegogs appear in our shops in from June to August. Evocative of 50s childhood puddings and making a comeback – gooseberry fool, crumble, pie, tart and not forgetting gooseberry jam and jelly. Gooseberry Sauce was traditionally eaten with mackerel and other oily fish. There is still an annual Gooseberry Show at Egton Bridge in North Yorkshire on the first Tuesday in August where the grower with the largest gooseberry wins.
I found this delightful recipe on James Ramsden’s Small Adventures in Cooking site. Guest posted by Evie of saffron-strands.blogspot.com. I’ve adapted it and reduced the amount of sugar as I prefer a slighter tarter tasting syllabub. Gooseberries are really easy to prepare and require very little cooking. The base for most gooseberry dishes call for the fruit to be stewed and sweetened according to the sharpness of the fruit.
100ml Sauternes or Muscat wine
finely grated zest of a lime
35g caster sugar
300ml double cream
80-100g caster sugar, adjust according to taste
2 tbsp elderflower cordial, homemade or shop bought is fine
50g blanched almonds, lightly toasted in the oven
Mix the first three ingredients together in a small bowl and allow to stand for a couple of hours or overnight so that the flavours are well blended.
Wash and top and tail the gooseberries. Slowly dissolve 80 -100g caster sugar together with the elderflower cordial in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the gooseberries and cook gently until the fruit is soft but not collapsed – approx 10/15 mins. Leave to cool completely then place in the fridge.
Whip the double cream until at very soft peak stage and then slowly mix in the sweet wine, lime zest and sugar mixture until it is all incorporated – take care not to over beat the cream mixture! If it seems too loose don’t fret as it will stiffen once it is chilled. Spoon the gooseberry mixture into individual serving glasses, half filling the glass and top with the syllabub. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours – it will keep in the fridge for at least 24 hrs and when ready to serve, finish off by sprinkling with the toasted almonds. Watch it disappear!
Serves 4-6 depending on the size of glass used.
More gooseberry recipes and further reading for gooseberry fans:
Jane Grigson’s classic Fruit Book – (Penguin Cookery Library) beautifully written section about the gooseberry with some traditional recipes.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Gooseberry Recipe’s from The Guardian’s Life&Style
RHS Grow your Own Gooseberries: Essential information for those wanting to grow their own gooseberries.