Gooseberry pie is a mouthwatering way to showcase these deliciously tart berries. The crust is tender and flaky, and the filling is fruity, juicy and full of zingy flavour. A fantastic summer berry pie!
Gooseberries are a reminder of my childhood. My grandma had them growing in her garden and we children always loved poking around in the bushes to find those little green marbles hiding among the thorns, popping them in our mouths like the sour candies so popular with kids now. If you could find the big ripe gooseberries, they were surprisingly sweet and jammy, with a flavour vaguely like kiwifruit (before we even knew what kiwifruit was).
Seeing punnets of gooseberries at the farmers markets this summer has brought on a wave of nostalgia for this wonderful berry that has somehow fallen out of popularity over the years. I wish we could grow them in our northern garden - I've tried, but no luck. So I'll have to fulfil my longing by snapping up a few baskets whenever I see them.
I used the green gooseberries for this pie, but there's also a red variety available. The flavour is very similar, maybe slightly sweeter; the main difference is that your pie filling will be a lovely pink colour if you use the red variety. I opted for the green variety here as that's the one I remember most.
A little bit of work is involved - you need to 'top and tail' the berries - pinch off the little blossom and stem from each gooseberry, but it's relaxing work. I remember us children having to do bowls of them for my Oma so she could cook them into her delicious gooseberry jam. We weren't the most reliable of workers - I'm sure there were almost as many berries popped into mouths as went into the bowls!
For nostalgia's sake, I've made a couple gooseberry pies this summer and also a gooseberry crisp. We've enjoyed every bite of those sensational tangy desserts.
A gooseberry pie is a delicious way to enjoy these special berries. The filling is a tart-sweet, juicy explosion of pure gooseberry flavour in a tender, flaky crust - every bite a drool-worthy mouthful to savour.
If you're lucky enough to get your hands on any gooseberries in the summer, this pie is a way to turn those little round jewels into a culinary treasure!
Make an Old-Fashioned Gooseberry Pie
Those plump berries just need those little brown blossoms and bits of stem ends pinched off. Then peel, core, and dice a tart apple. The gooseberries get so juicy when cooked, that an apple helps give the filling a bit more body.
Stir in some sugar, vanilla, and a few spoonfuls of minute tapioca. Gooseberries have an enzyme that prevents some starches from thickening - tapioca works the best here. (I did try one gooseberry pie using sweet rice flour as a thickener. No go. The filling was like soup, so I strongly recommend the minute tapioca!) Then pile the filling into your prepared pastry crust (or just cheat and buy a pre-made crust - I won't tell).
Add the top crust. (If you don't want to fiddle with a top crust, you could also just add a streusel topping like from this Saskatoon Pie.) For a pretty sparkle and extra crunch, brush the top crust with cream, milk, or egg yolk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake the gooseberry pie until it's golden and bubbling.
Try and wait for it to cool before cutting yourself a slice!
Memories of Oma's house. I am back in my childhood, running barefoot through the grass with my sisters and raiding the garden and berry bushes for snacks with grubby fingers, hungry mouths and big smiles on our faces.
A slab of this pie is pure gooseberry heaven.
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- your favourite pastry for top and bottom crust of a 9-inch pie dish (for a tender flaky gluten free crust, use 1½ times this recipe, chilled before rolling it out)
- 3 cups (375gms) gooseberries, topped and tailed
- 1 large tart green apple like Granny Smith
- 1¼ cups (250gms) sugar preferably natural evaporated cane sugar
- 3½ tablespoons (35gms) minute tapioca
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
optional, for the top of the pie
- 1 tablespoon cream or milk, or an egg yolk mixed with a teaspoon of water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
- Roll out the bottom crust for the pie, fit it into a 9-inch pie plate. A deep dish pie plate works best in case any of the filling bubbles out of the pie, so it won't spill over. (See here for how to roll out a gluten free pie crust between two sheets of parchment paper.) Chill the pan with the bottom crust while you prepare the filling
- Top and tail the gooseberries (pinch off the little stem end and blossom end). Peel the apple, cut it into quarters, cut out the core, and cut each quarter in half to make 8 wedges, then cut each wedge into thin crosswise slices.
- Toss the gooseberries, apple, sugar, tapioca, water, and vanilla in a bowl, then scrape it into the chilled bottom pie crust. Dot the top of the pie with bits of the butter.
- Roll out the top crust, put it onto the pie and crimp the edges together with the bottom crust. Cut a few slits into the top of the pie to allow the steam to escape.
- If using, brush the top of the pie with cream, milk, or diluted egg yolk, then sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar. If using a shallow (regular) pie dish, set it onto a foil or parchment lined baking dish to catch any filling that might bubble over.
- Bake at 450°F (230°C) for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until the pie is golden brown and the filling is bubbling up through some of the slits.
- Allow the pie to cool fully, then cut it into 6 wedges. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
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