I love gooseberries. For me, summer just wouldn’t be summer without them & it always saddens me when people tell me that they don’t like gooseberries, or worse, haven’t tried them. They can…. be a bit off putting, as they have a sharp flavour, are green and hairy and because you generally don’t see people gobbling them down like grapes. Yet, gooseberries are a wonderful British fruit when cooked and superbly versatile. They lend themselves to being turned into the freshest fruit crumble or cobbler, the most excellent jam and a whole host of sauces which can be served with sweet or savoury dishes. Ever heard of gooseberry and elderflower wine? Well, that’s a whole other blog post.
One of my favourite ways to use gooseberries is in a fruit fool and I share my recipe with you below. The inspiration for my recipe comes from the Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook (1970) by Mary Berry, Ann Body and Audrey Ellis, recipe number 322. It was the cookbook my husband had taken with him to university and I found it among his things when we very first married. It was the first gooseberry fool recipe I ever encountered and that is also why it has a special place in my heart.
Alison’s Gooseberry Fool
This gooseberry fool is very creamy and sweet enough to be enjoyed by the very young. Having said that, it has a fresh, delicate, cleansing effect on the palate and is easily sophisticated enough to serve as part of an elegant dinner. You could serve this very successfully after a number of rich meaty or fatty meals, but smoked mackerel for a main course would work especially well. It works brilliantly on it’s own as a dessert, but I also like to serve it very alternatively as a cream to accompany a sweet cherry crumble.
- 800 grams gooseberries
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- 160 grams unrefined golden caster sugar
- 1 pint double cream
Wash your gooseberries in a colander or sieve and snip off the stalks with scissors. Leave the husk ends as they are. Put your gooseberries into a pan with the water and heat gently stirring occasionally, until the gooseberries are soft and pulpy. Put the gooseberries and all the juice in the pan into the goblet or bowl of a food processor or smoothie machine (I use my Nutribullet for this) and blend until they are smooth and there are no lumps. If you don’t have a machine you can put it all into a sieve held over a bowl and gently squish and bash the gooseberries and juice with a wooden spoon, until you have a thick smooth liquid in your bowl and the skins and husks left in the mesh of the sieve. Stir in the sugar thoroughly and leave the mixture to cool for a couple of minutes. Lightly whip the cream making sure not to over whip it (although it won’t be disastrous if you do over whip it) and fold into your juicy gooseberry puree.
Pour into a medium sized pretty glass dish or 6-8 individual glass dishes depending on how large you want your servings to be.