Glorious Gooseberry Tart

A perfect sweet-and-sour treat

Gooseberries are not seen often in the supermarket, but when they are, they are worth acquiring for making a gooseberry tart. I found my gooseberries at the beginning of August here in Denver. They came from Hurst's Berry Farm in Oregon. This is one of the best fruit pies, right up there with rhubarb, which it might even surpass. It is a pie no longer seen very often, but deserves more fame. Fannie Farmer gave no specific instructions, so I thought it might be useful to correct the omission.

I used frozen pie crusts from the supermarket to make the job easy. The tart will be better with your own crust, if you can make it, of course. Buy two punnets of gooseberries (12 ounces or 340 g) for one 9-inch double crust pie. Wash the gooseberries thoroughly, discarding any yellow berries and other undesirable bits. Do not worry about the brown bits on the berries--you will not notice them in the pie. Mix the berries with about 3/4 cup of sugar, and a tablespoon of arrowroot. Arrowroot is a secret ingredient that is better in fruit pies than cornstarch, flour or tapioca for thickening the filling. You can also add a teaspoon of cinnamon if you like. Some recipes have you crush half the gooseberries and cook them a little with the sugar first. Fill the pie shell and put the upper crust on top, pinching the rim to join the crusts. Cut four 2" slits in the top crust.

Put the pie in a 425°F oven (hot) on a cookie sheet, and bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the top crust is nicely brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove and cool. That's all there is to it! It is good warm or cold, with heavy cream or (English) custard, or just plain. I still remember an excellent gooseberry tart I had in Dublin a number of years ago.

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Composed by J. B. Calvert
Created 2 August 2002
Last revised 3 August 2002