Monday, June 20, 2022

Gooseberry Tart

When I was watching the first season of Bridgerton and Lady Bridgerton was tempting the Duke to come to dinner so that he could get to know her eligible daughter Daphne, I remember that she said that her cook was well known for her excellent gooseberry pie, knowing that the Duke love a good gooseberry pie. That's what came to mind last week when my brother-in-law surprised me by telling me that I had gooseberries and that they were ready to be picked.

The gooseberry shrub was the result of a neighbor giving me a cutting. I planted it in a wine half-barrel a few years ago, watered it regularly and watched it grow, but I couldn't remember the name of the plant. Last year we had a few flowers which turned into berries. I tried one but it was tart and had seeds, even when soft and reddish. There were too few to do anything with, so I promptly forgot about the berries.

This year the crop was much better. After Mark let me know what I had, I decided to make a gooseberry pie for Sweetie for Father's Day. After picking almost all the berries, I realized that he was going to get something smaller than a pie...perhaps hand pies or maybe a tart.

I suspect that one of the reasons I don't remember seeing gooseberries in the market is that they are very time consuming to prepare. When picking them I found that they usually didn't come off the shrub easily like other berries do when ripe, so even the picking took more time than I had thought. Then each berry has to be handled again as you 'top and tail' them, which means that you remove the shriveled flower on one end and any remaining stem on the other end. It takes hundreds of the berries to make a pint. I ended up with a bit less than a pint, so I adjusted the recipe I found online to accommodate the smaller amount and found a smaller tart pan, too.

For the tart shell I used some ready-made pie dough, as I often do. I fit it into the tart pan, pressing the dough to the sides of the pan, then I folded the excess over so that it touched the bottom of the pan, and pressed that to the sides as well. This way you have a single crust on the bottom, which bakes quickly, and a double layer on the walls of the shell, which gives stability. I used a rolling pin the flatten the top and knock off any excess that was higher than the pan sides. This 'leftover' dough was used to create the thin pastry decorations on the top after the filling went in.

For the filling, you take the prepared gooseberries, sugar, and a small amount of water and simmer, then add butter, simmer a bit more, then add the flour and egg yolk and stir over low heat until the mixture thickens a bit, like pudding. I tasted the filling and found it too sweet, so I added a tablespoon on fresh lemon juice. That made it just the right amount of sweet and tart! Once I took the filling off the heat, I put a layer of plastic wrap directly on the filling to avoid a skin forming while the mixture cooled.

After the mixture cooled I poured it into the prepared tart shell and then added the pastry decor. A bit of egg white brushed on the decor and around the edges of the tart browned up nicely during cooking.

The tart gets baked briefly at 425 degrees F and then for a longer period at 35 degrees F. Once the crust is browned and the filling starts to bubble, it's ready to come out and cooled on a wire rack to room temperature.

Sweetie really loved this tart...he even had a piece for breakfast!

The recipes I read online seemed to indicate that you can find canned and frozen gooseberries. I've never seen either for sale, but if you find them,  or if your find these at the farmer's market, do try this. It makes a delightful tart and it's quite pretty, too.

Gooseberry Pie
recipe from Blackberry Girl blog,

 adapted by me and made into a tart


·         3/4 pint gooseberries

·         ¼ cup water

·         1 cup sugar (but I would use less...probably 2/3 cup)

·         1 tablespoon butter

·         tablespoons flour

·         1 egg yolk

·         1 tablespoon lemon juice if needed for tartness (optional)

·         1 6-inch prepared tart shell (see below)

Pie crust topping

·         1 egg white


1.      In a small saucepan, add gooseberries and water. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Drain off 1-2 tablespoos of the excess water, then return to the burner.

2.      Add the sugar, butter and flour, continue to simmer.

3.      Beat egg yolk and pour slowly into saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of filling to prevent a skin from forming.

4.      Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

5.      Let filling cool to barely warm.

6.      Pour filling into pre-made tart crust.

7.      Top with thin lattice strips from another pie crust circle, or re-use leftover pieces from first crust for create minimalist topping.

8.      Brush the tart crust edges and any decorations or lattice with egg whites.

9.      Place tart on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 15-20 minutes. Tart is done when edges are browned and tart filling bubbles some.

10.  Remove to a wire rack and cool until room temperature. Serve at room temperature. Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge.

1 comment :

  1. Gorgeous top crust decor!
    The only time I ever have had gooseberries was when our friends who had a farm in Oregon had them - they are indeed time consuming little buggers.