Thing’s are finally hotting up for the summer leading me to create many more cooling, no-bake desserts for the season. This week, I finally found several punnets of the illusive gooseberries. They can be a little tricky to find for sale as the poor gooseberries have undoubtedly gone out of favour here in the UK. They’re easy to grow but, like my own gooseberry bush, take a while to establish & produce enough fruit for anything substantial. But don’t dismiss the tart gooseberry, if you can find them during their summer season, they’re a real treat in summery desserts.
Gooseberries is a very British berry & used to be much loved here. They were even cultivated for medicinal use in the 16th century when they were prescribed to plague victims & when the entire crop of gooseberries was wiped out in 1905 by a mildew disease accidentally introduced from America, that didn’t deter us, we simply reintroduced them by crossing them with a mildew resistant variety to continue our love affair with the berry. After all of that effort, don’t we owe it to the country to keep them growing, keep them in fashion & well, continue to enjoy eating & cooking with them!
They’re at their best from about late June to early August & are great in jams, chutneys & puddings. Perhaps one of the most synonymous & summery desserts using gooseberries though has to be a fool. A gorgeous concoction of stewed gooseberries swirled through lightly whipped fresh cream. It’s nothing fancy but it is delicious & a real crowdpleaser. Besides, I’m all for any dessert that I can pull together in the space of 20 minutes. I’ve added in the fragrant touch of elderflower here too as the two work so well together.
GOOSEBERRY & ELDERFLOWER FOOL
(serves 4-6, depending on the size of your bowls)
- 400g gooseberries
- 4 tbsp elderflower cordial
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- 80g caster sugar
- 400ml double cream
- 100ml greek yogurt
- Optional: Small handful of gooseberries for decorating
- Begin by making up the gooseberry compote, place the gooseberries, cordial, lemon juice & caster sugar into a medium saucepan
- Place over a high heat & cook for 5-10 minutes until the fruit has burst & the mixture becomes thick & pulpy
- Set aside to cool completely
- Next, use a whisk or mixer to lightly whip up the double cream
- Remove roughly 2/3 of the cream & continue to whip up the remaining cream until it hold soft peaks, set aside for later
- Now, take 1/3 of the gooseberry compote & gently fold it through the 2/3 of lightly whipped cream along with the yogurt
- Spoon & divide the gooseberry cream mixture between glasses or small bowls
- Next, spoon the remaining gooseberry compote on top of the cream in each glass
- Finally, spoon over the whipped cream & top with a few small gooseberries for decoration
- Chill the gooseberry & elderflower fool until ready to serve