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Gooseberry Fool

Gooseberry Fool

Gooseberry Fool

Gooseberries are very much underrated and underused, fantastic on their own, with cream, in desserts or savoury dishes, they should be gracing every table at summertime. I’ve always loved them, my aunt used to grow them and I loved visiting so that I could indulge. I shouldn’t have liked them that much, they can be quite sharp and sour and they’re hairy when ripe, so, how could they be attractive to a child? Especially a little girl who doesn’t much like eating anything unless it’s almost all sugar? I suspect, the fact that hardly anyone liked them was attractive (there was lots more for me) but the flavour is something that I’ve always loved, that tart burst when you bite into a gooseberry is fantastic.

When I was last home, a friend gave me a gift of some delicious elderflower cordial, so I thought it fitting to pair it with this delicious seasonal fruit and some whipped cream, to create that favourite dessert of mine – fool. I keep my fruit fools quite simple, usually a fruit compote of sorts mixed with twice the amount of whipped cream. Sometimes, when I want to feel a little better about this indulgence, I stir in some greek yoghurt, approximately half yoghurt/half cream. Were I organised, I’d have made this when the elderflowers themselves were in bloom and stewed the gooseberries with a few heads of elderflower tied in muslin. Alas, that was the month of crazy business that was June.

Gooseberry Fool

Topped & tailed gooseberries

This recipe works well with the bright green sour gooseberries in the markets right now. It really is very simple and doesn’t require a recipe as such, I used 450g green gooseberries, 100g sugar, enough water to cover, and 2 tablespoons of elderflower cordial. Simply, boil the water with the sugar until dissolved, top and tail the gooseberries and add to this with a couple of tablespoons of elderflower cordial (adjust to taste) and stew until the fruit bursts, takes about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the amount of elderflower cordial if necessary. Stir this into your whipped cream, again to taste, I usually add it cream:fruit, 2:1.

Related recipe: Rhubarb Fool.

Borough Market

Borough Market Gooseberries




  1. Yay – gooseberries are my favourite fruit ever! I made some delicious gooseberry and elderflower ice cream based on one of the River Cottage recipes. Jane Grigson’s fruit book also has lots of great ideas.

  2. I love gooseberries. Only the thing is I can’t find them in California:( Never seen them here. Usually in Azerbaijan red goosberries are more popular and I really miss them. Goosberry fool sounds like a fun idea:)

    BTW, I have an award for you on my blog. Check it out:)

  3. oooh, gooseberries! Love em. We used to have a bush in the garden when I was a kid and I remeber being a bit wary of them myself. They are definitely an adult thing I think. Now I love them. I actually don’t think I got around to cooking with them last year – no excuses this year!

  4. Alex – great. Thanks for the tips on the other recipes – I will look them up!

    Farida – red gooseberries?? Ooooh, I must investigate. Thanks very much for the award, I am very flattered.

    Helen, indeed, gooseberries = yum! I did love them as a child bizarrely. I need to start using them in savoury dishes. Might do that this weekend.

  5. What beautiful pictures of Gooseberries! I love food and I’ve been trying to post more food entries on my own site. You’ve set a wonderful example.

  6. Don’t think I’ve ever actualyl cooked with gooseberries – in fact, until I came to England I was unaware that there were any other types of gooseberries other than Cape Gooseberries that I grew up with ;-) I love the delicate lacy look of these gooseberries and I’m a sucker for a fruit fool :)

  7. Christian – thanks!

    Jeanne – they’re great, give them a go.

    Aforkfulofspaghetti – never, ever wrong :-)

  8. Thank you for reminding me that gooseberries are in season- I always forget and then miss them.

  9. I need a chicken gooseberry soup reciepe that my old Romainian Grandmother used to make when I got sick. It was amazingly gratifying and made me feel much better. So If there’s anybody out there that might have a great receipe, can you please send it to me?

    thanks so much.

  10. Tim S. says

    You ought to make it clear that the gooseberry puree should be chilled before adding the whipped cream.

    Men love gooseberry fool, too!

Over to you! Your comments - I would love to hear from you :)