When its Forth of July and Eden Hall is bursting with gooseberries, there’s only one thing to do…make pie!
Our gooseberry bushes have fruited tons of berries this year, partly because of the mesh netting that has protected them from birds and critters. We also mulched the beds so that we could keep the weeds under control.
Gooseberries grow on bushes similarly to blueberries. They hang off the branches, and will fall off into your hands when they are perfectly ripe. However, the bushes are scattered with thorns that can make harvesting slightly painful! I kept forgetting about the thorns, harvesting greedily until again I would be reminded of the bush’s built in protection system. My fingers ached, but my heart was happy as I walked away with a full harvest of gooseberries.
I had never had a gooseberry until a couple weeks ago at Eden Hal. I picked one of the very first ripe berries so that I could taste this interesting fruit. To me, gooseberries taste like a perfect mix of a grape and a kiwi. They are slightly tart (especially the greener berries) but have a sweet brightness to them as well.
For the pie crust I just used a classic dough recipe:
1 1/2 cups flour 1 tsp salt 1 tbsp sugar (because it is a sweeter pie) Pulse these in a food processor just to mix add 1 stick of COLD butter, cut into cubes mix in food processor until pea sized clumps form, and then while the processor is mixing, slowly add cold water until the dough comes together. Chill in refrigerator for at least a half hour before using
Here is the recipe for the filling!
Gooseberries (as many as I could pick…probably around 4-5 cups) 1 cup white sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger the zest of 1 orange 1/2 tsp lemon juice 1/4 cup corn starch
I put all of the above ingredients in a pan, and reduced it for about 15 minutes. I let it cool (mostly) and then put it into my pre-baked pie crust! The mixture was still a little bit runny (maybe i should have added more corn starch?) so i used a slotted spoon to transfer the mixture. I covered the pie with the remaining dough, using the lattice design, and baked it at 400 until the crust was golden brown.
Needless to say, the pie was devoured, and I can’t wait to see what other delicious treats these new berries will bring!
Cassandra Malis Masters Candidate in Food Studies Intern at Eden Hall