Thursday, July 3, 2014

Gooseberry Pie

I really hadn't intended to harvest all my gooseberries. I figured the Fourth of July was a good time to bake a pie though. And what better pie than a gooseberry pie. But I noticed the berries were starting to get ripe. Gooseberries for cooking are often picked slightly green to intensify that tart gooseberry flavor. Oh how good it is.

Gooseberries are not really in favor in the US but you occasionally find them. My first taste of one was in Missouri at a little diner. I don't care how good your fried chicken or meatloaf is, if you can't make a good pie, you shouldn't be a diner. And boy could they make a pie. I don't remember if I ordered the gooseberry pie or if it was my mother-in-law or my sister-in-law. Needless to say we all share. So whoever ordered it, I got to taste it. I had never had a gooseberry pie before and was shocked at how good it was. Sweet, tart and in perfect combination. I knew that one day I would grow them. In parts of the US and even Massachusetts they are illegal to plant, but in my town of Arlington it is legal.

Gooseberries need to be topped and tailed - which just means that the top and bottom are cut off. The bottom has a stem attached and the top has the old flower. I got those all done and ready before rolling out the dough. I would never call my mother a great cook, but she did teach me to make a pie crust as a kid. She showed me how to use two pieces of waxed paper and roll the dough out between them. I still do that today. She made her pies with shortening. My pies will never have that terrible fate. I don't care how light and flaky it might make a pie, for me butter is where it is at. It is a little heavier, but oh the taste is everything. Nothing can replace it.

The recipe I use isn't the same kind as the one from that day in the dinner. That was a plain fruit pie with just sugar, fruit, and something to thicken it. The recipe I use I found online. It has a sour cream filling. I don't follow that recipe totally. I like to add 2 cups of mashed fruit and a bit more flour. Because the pie really ought to be about the gooseberries and not about the sour cream.

The pie uses two crusts like a lot of fruit pies. I forgot to cut a pattern into the crust before putting it on, so just poked a few holes in the top. Then I decided pie number two would have a lattice top instead. I was a bit worried about the lattice topped one. As I was putting it on the lattice wanted to fall into the filling. Unlike an all fruit pie the filling for this was more liquid.

It did seem to work out though. I hope the filling set enough. I'm bringing two pies because my hostess thinks we will eat more sweet things than usual. For those not in the US the Fourth of July is typically an outdoor grilling party. But it won't be outdoors for us. Hurricane Arthur is coming up the coast and though the winds will mostly miss us, the rain will not. And it will hit tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Pie is not all that I'm bringing. I think a chard tart is in the works for tomorrow. If I have time I'll write about that too.


  1. Beautiful lattice top pie! I love gooseberry pie too. There was a BBQ place in town when I was growing up and they made the best pies. I'm sure that was my first taste of gooseberries. And like you, I had to grow them when I had my own garden. I don't enjoy taking the tails off but I do enjoy eating them. I'll check out that recipe, though it will be a couple of years before our newly planted bushes have enough to make a pie.

  2. This is true American pie I think :) Such lattice pies always remind me of America.

  3. Oh wow! Hopefully my bushes next year will produce a decent crop. I started my plants from little cuttings a year and a half ago. They are taking off this year so I'm hopeful. I'm growing all Hinnomaki. I need to steal a cutting from someone growing Invicta.

    Your pies look great! The farm stand near our old house used to make pies with their own fruit. Unfortunately, they used an all shortening crust and it just ruined it.

  4. Beautiful pies, Daphne! I have never had gooseberries, but from your description they sound delicious. I bet your pies will be a hit.

  5. I planted Hinnomaki gooseberries as part of my hedge this year. Like Thomas, they were small cuttings, so I'm hoping in a couple years I can taste gooseberries for the first time!

  6. I can't remember the last time I tasted a gooseberry, it's not something that is easy to find here either. Your pies are beautiful and I'm sure they will be a sensational hit. Have a great Fourth of July!

  7. Great looking pies! Was wondering why the gooseberry is illegal in some states? Guess it is a host for white pine rust. Enjoy the weekend.

  8. I too learned to make pie crusts from my mother and it was her mother's recipe. We use corn oil, milk, and flour only. Also roll out between wax paper. Question: why are gooseberries illegal to plant? Your pies look lovely. No problem with gluten for you?

    1. Nope gluten is fine. So far I can't eat: nightshades of any kind, soy, mushrooms and weirdly the old vitamins I used to take though I don't know what is in them that is causing the reaction.

      Gooseberries and currents are illegal because of white pine rust. I think you need both a white pine and a ribes for the whole cycle of rust to happen. Black currents I think are still illegal to plant here as they are the most susceptible to it.

  9. Beautiful pies, Daphne! I've never tasted gooseberries, but I love tart fruit, so I have a feeling I would like them - I do sometimes see them in stores, so I'll have to give them a try to see if I should be planting some. And now that the chard is coming in, I'm really looking forward to hearing about the chard tart too.

  10. Your pie looks yummy, the berries are so pretty. The first time I had gooseberries was in a German restaurant, they served roasted duck with preserved gooseberries, it was good!