Seasonal local food recipe No. 383 – Jane Grigson’s gooseberry fool


Some of us have got those reddish-pink gooseberries in Camel CSA’s weekly veg boxes. They’re ideal for making Jane Grigson‘s gooseberry fool from Good Thingsher classic about fresh local food. As far as I’m concerned, this has always been the only way to make fruit fool, with cream only. Sometimes the simple recipes are the best.

It’s featured in the Observer Food Monthly‘s 20 Best Recipes. Later in the year other fruit may be substituted, uncooked raspberries and strawberries and peaches for instance, and in the autumn cooked purees or apple flavoured with apricot jam or quinces. Use just over half a pint of puree to half a pint of cream or custard.

Serves: 4-6

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

350g young gooseberries, topped and tailed
55g butter
sugar, to taste
275ml double cream 275ml, whipped, or 150ml each double and single cream
(or 275ml single cream and 3 egg yolks if making custard)

red-dessert-gooseberries-camel csa-290618

Stew the gooseberries slowly in a covered pan, with the butter, until they are yellow and just cooked. Crush with a fork, sweeten to taste and mix carefully and lightly into the whipped cream.

To make custard, bring single cream (or rich milk) to the boil, and pour on to the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Set the bowl over a pan of hot water and stir steadily until the custard thickens to double cream consistency. Strain into a bowl, and leave to cool before folding in the gooseberries.

Serve in custard glasses or plain white cups, with some homemade almond biscuits or macaroons.

Seasonal local food recipe No.235 – My Mum’s gooseberry fool


A simple summer pudding and my Mum’s addition of yoghurt makes it a little less rich.

Serves: 2-3

Preparation time: 20-30 minutes

250g gooseberries, topped and tailed
sugar to taste
150 ml double cream
150 ml greek style yoghurt

Stew the gooseberries until soft with a little sugar and leave to cool.  If like me you don’t like the seeds you can sieve them to get a puree, in which case there is no need to top and tail before stewing.  Mix the cooked gooseberries with the yoghurt.  Whip the cream until you reach the soft peak stage and fold into the gooseberry and yoghurt mix.  Taste and add more sugar if required.  Serve with shortbread biscuits.

Seasonal local food recipe No.151: Gooseberry and elderflower fool with gingersnaps


This recipe in Food Magazine comes from chef Dez Turland of the Saunton Sands Hotel in Devon. Dez says: “This fantastic light and simple summer dessert is a winner for any dinner party.”

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
PLUS: At least two hours to chill the fool in the fridge

450g gooseberries
120g castor sugar
60ml elderflower cordial
350ml double cream
Candied gooseberries to serve
Sprig of mint

For the gingersnaps:
175g unsalted butter
100g dark brown sugar
100g castor sugar
60ml treacle
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
2 eggs
260g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
200g granulated sugar, for rolling

Cook the gooseberries with the sugar on the stove until soft and starting to break down, then roughly blitz. Add the cordial and allow to cool.

Whip the cream until it reaches the ribbon stage and fold gently into the gooseberry mix, reserving a little to spoon into the bottom of each glass. Spoon the fool into each glass and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Finish with candied gooseberries, if you have them, and a sprig of mint.

To make the gingersnaps: beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the treacle, vanilla seeds and eggs, then add all of the dry ingredients. Mix until combined, cover and chill for a least an hour.

When firm, roll into 1cm balls, then roll in granulated sugar, coating thoroughly. Place onto a non stick tray and flatten with the palm of your hand until 1cm thick. Cook at 180°c/gas 4 for 15 minutes, allow to cool on a wire rack.

Serve in glass dishes with the gingersnaps on the side for dipping.

Also try: Gooseberry crumble cake

Seasonal local food recipe No.101: Nigel Slater’s gooseberry crumble cake

This is a delicious alternative to the traditional gooseberry crumble and takes only a little longer to make. Try it with Mark Norman’s organically-grown gooseberries in this week’s veg boxes, also available for sale at St Kew Harvest Farm Shop.

The ground almonds make all the difference. And if you’ve got any elderflower cordial, add a few drops of that. As Nigel Slater says, it’s very much a “cut-and-come-again cake” so it’s popular with children and teenagers. My daughters love it.

Serves 8

Preparation and cooking: 75 – 90 minutes (mostly cooking time)

For the cake:
butter, softened 180g
golden caster sugar 90g
light muscovado sugar 90g
eggs 2
ground almonds 80g
self-raising flour 150g
vanilla extract 2–3 drops
gooseberries 350g

For the crumble:
plain flour 110g
butter 80g
caster sugar 2 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 175C/gas mark 3. Line the base of a 20cm round tin with baking parchment. To make the crumble topping, blitz the flour and the butter to crumbs in a food processor. Add the caster sugar and mix lightly. Remove the mixer bowl from the stand and add a few drops of water. Shake the bowl a little so that some of the crumbs stick together like small pebbles.  

To make the cake, beat the butter and sugars in a food mixer for 8-10 minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs gently then gradually introduce them to the mixture with the beater on slow.

Fold in the ground almonds and flour then add the drops of vanilla extract. Transfer the mixture to the tin and smooth it flat. Scatter the gooseberries on top, pressing them down a little. Then scatter the crumble mixture loosely over the gooseberries.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, checking for doneness with a skewer. The skewer should come out damp from the gooseberries but without any raw cake mixture attached. Leave to cool in the tin, then remove and set aside.

Try these recipes for gooseberry sauce

Seasonal local food recipe No 100: Gooseberry sauce


Two recipes for a sauce to accompany grilled mackerel or roast pork, both from Nigel Slater’s Tender Vol. II. The second one makes use of elderflower cordial and ginger – an idea taken from Yotam Ottolenghi.

1. A gooseberry sauce
Makes enough to accompany grills mackerel or roast pork for six.
500g gooseberries
50g sugar
3-4 tbsp water
Top and tail the gooseberries, tip them into a stainless steel pan, then add the sugar and water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Use warm or at room temperature.

2. A hot gooseberry and ginger sauce
Enough for 6
400g gooseberries
100g caster sugar
4 tbsp elderflower cordial
large lump of fresh ginger, about the size of your thumb

Top and tail the gooseberries and tip them into a pan with the sugar and cordial. Peel and coarsely grate the ginger and add to the pot. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Serve with pork or oily fish.

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