Are gooseberries worth the pain of picking? Even though our bushes have very sharp, long thorns I can tolerate the scratches to get the fruit. Our bushes aren’t very productive, whereas my mother-in-law could keep a small country going on the produce from her two bushes, so we’ve raided her garden to supplement our meagre crop.
We used some to make gooseberry gin (because all fruit here seems to be pickled in alcohol) and I put the rest into a saucepan with a little elderflower syrup and heated them until they started to burst. Half of the cooked gooseberries were tipped straight into bowls and eaten warm with cream while the rest were put into a dish for a crumble. If I was more efficient, I would have photographed it – a bowl of pale gooseberries, topped with golden crumble with a spoonful of thick cream sliding into the elderflower and gooseberry juices. But I didn’t think of that. And now it’s gone. So here’s the recipe instead.
175g plain flour
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar
About 750g cooked, sweetened gooseberries
Put the flour and chopped butter into the processor and whiz until it looks like breadcrumbs and then stir in the sugar.
Sprinkle in an even layer on a baking tray and put in the roasting oven of the AGA or 190C. It takes 5 – 10 minutes to turn pale brown, but needs checking and stirring around every couple of minutes so that it cooks evenly. It will look a bit like crumbled biscuits and should be crunchy.
Put the cooked gooseberries into a dish and sprinkle the crumble mixture lightly on top. Cook 15 minutes in the roasting oven or about 20 minutes 190C.