My boyfriend has a bit of a thing for lychee and gooseberries, and although I can bring myself to eat a lychee without cooking it or “dooing” anything with it. Gooseberries on the other hand, they freak me out. Not gonna lie. My BF brought a punnet and left it with me just saying I had to try them. I couldn’t bring myself to bite into one of them so I did what any sane person would do, I put them in a pie. I infused the filling with elderflower blossom to make it a little less full on with the gooseberry flavour, this really is a proper kind of English hedgerow dessert, and despite my gooseberry aversion I was rather chuffed with this!
For the crust:
1 1/4 cup plain white flour
1/2 diced cold vegetable shortening
4 tbsp golden unrefined caster sugar
ice cold water, as needed
For the gooseberry filling:
2 1/2 cups gooseberries, trimmed
3/4 cup unrefined golden caster sugar, or more
a splash of water (or elderflower cordial if you can not find fresh elderflowers)
1 large head of elderflower blossoms, the more pollen the better
3 tbsp of cold water mixed with 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
The crumble topping:
2/3 cup plain flour
scant 1/3 cup diced vegetable shortening
1/4 cup golden unrefined caster sugar
demera sugar for sprinkling
For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 190c/370f and grease a 8″ pie dish. Add the flour and sugar to a food processor along with the cubed shortening and pulse until crumbly. Turn into a bowl and slowly add the ice water a tbsp at a time and mix together until you get a nice dough. Wrap in clingfilm and let rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Take out of the fridge roll out until you get a circle about 9 1/2″- 10 inches approx and line your pie dish, pop back into the fridge and leave to sit for about another 15 minutes this helps ensure the pastry doesn’t shrink during baking. Blind bake the crust for 10 minutes and bake exposed for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the gooseberry and elderflower filling:
Place the gooseberries and sugar in a pan and bring up 2 a medium heat, allow the sugar to melt and the berries to release some of their natural moisture. This will take a couple of minutes, place the bunches of elderflowers face down into the liquid and poke them in so they are fully submerged and only the stalks poke out (this makes it easier to remove the elderflower when you need to) and continue to cook the berry/sugar mix for about five minutes until the berries are tender. Remove the elderflower and bring to a bubble before adding the arrowroot mixture and whisking for about 30 seconds before removing from the heat and transferring to a bowl to cool.
Assembly and topping:
Whilst the pie filling and crust and cooling, make the crumble topping by rubbing the fat into the flour and sugar until it resembles a nice chunky crumble topping. Once everything is nice and cool, spoon the filling into the pie crust and sprinkle on the crumble topping and the demerea sugar and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crumble topping is golden. Allow to cool once again before serving.