Early to mid-July is the peak season for gooseberries, those delicious and versatile culinary berries that can be used to make gooseberry fool, gooseberry meringue pie and gooseberry jam, among others.
This recipe is for a simple gooseberry pie topped with a rich and crumbly pastry that is halfway between shortcrust pastry and shortbread. It is especially nice served cold a day or two after being made. You can use either green or red gooseberries, or a mixture.
Gooseberry pie (serves 6)
6 oz (approx 150 g) plain flour
1.5 Tablespoons (1.5 x 15 ml spoons) icing sugar
3 oz (approx 75 g) butter
1.5 oz (approx 40 g) lard
Approx 1 Tablespoon (approx 1 x 15 ml spoon) cold water to mix
1.5 lb oz (approx 700 g) gooseberries
3 oz (approx 75 g) light brown soft sugar
To make the filling
Wash the gooseberries. Top and tail them (i.e. cut off the stalk at one end and the remains of the flower at the other).
Put the gooseberries in shallow heatproof pie dish approximately 8” (approx 20 cm) diameter.
Sprinkle the sugar on top of the gooseberries, and mix in.
To make the pastry
Rub the butter and lard into the flour and icing sugar until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Gradually add sufficient water to mix to a soft dough. If the mixture is floury and flaky you need a little more water. If it is sticky you have added too much water; add a little more flour. (Or you could use ready-made pastry if you prefer).
Roll out the pastry thickly to make a circle just a little bigger than the pie dish.
Place the pastry on top of the gooseberries and sugar in the pie dish and trim the surplus pastry off from the edge.
Roll out the pastry trimmings and cut into pastry leaves for decoration (or other decoration of your choice).
Brush the top of the pie with milk, and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.
Bake in a hot oven, approx 180 C, for approximately 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve warm or cold, with cream, natural yoghurt or ice cream. The pie will keep for several days in the fridge.
I expect to get 6 slices out of this recipe, but that depends how big a slice you like.