Gooseberry fool with Phwoarr!

Red gooseberries

Have you ever come across red gooseberries? I have now!

Although gooseberries are a traditional British fruit, they are much neglected.  I think this is because few people know what to do with them.  It’s also a common belief that you need to put so much sugar with them to make them palatable that it almost destroys the purpose of having them in the first place.

This is a great pity, because gooseberries can be absolutely lovely, with a complex, tart flavour.  Green gooseberries are the most common, but this year I became aware of red gooseberries, which are sweet enough to eat alone without any additional sweetness, and which are quite delightful.

A neighbour allowed us to pick a glut of her gooseberries, which left me with the problem of what to do next.  Luckily, I found the following recipe from St Delia.  Even better, the juice, which Delia discards, makes an incredible drink.  It’s quite concentrated, so try diluting it with sparkling water.  My friend’s grown-up son tried it, and his reaction was simply “PHWOARR”, so that’s what we named it.

For 4 generous servings:
1lb Gooseberries
2 heaped dessertspoons Honey (I used local Scottish honey)
300ml natural Yoghurt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

  2. Wash the gooseberries, and place in an oven-proof dish.  Drizzle over the honey.  Place the gooseberries in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, until softened, but not falling apart.

  3. Place a sieve over a bowl, making sure there is space in the bowl beneath the sive. Place the gooseberries in the sieve and allow to cool and drain.  Save the liquid in the bowl; this is Phwoarr.  You will get 4-6 sherry glasses, and of course you will get more servings if you serve it dilute, as suggested above.

  4. Place about three quarters of the blueberries in a blender (save the least squashed ones for decoration), and puree to a pulp.  Taste, add a little more honey if necessary and blend again until smooth.

  5. Stir about two thirds of the pulp into the yoghurt until well incorporated.  Place in a serving bowl, or in individual glass dishes.  Top with the remaining pulp, and finally arrange the un-pulped gooseberries on top.  Serve chilled, perhaps with a small glass of Phwoarr on the side.