Gooseberry Fool Recipe

Gooseberry Fool - an easy to make, light dessert to make the most of this seasonal treat
I had barely even heard of gooseberries before I came to England – they weren’t commonly available in Ontario back then. However, once I arrived in the UK it wasn’t long before I discovered the delights of gooseberry jam, gooseberry pie and gooseberry fool – all of which I loved.

How to Make Gooseberry Fool

Nowadays you can get gooseberries fairly easily at farm shops and some grocery stores in both the UK and North America. However, if you’ve never seen a gooseberry, you can see below that they are kind of curious looking.


Gooseberries photographed by Clive Darra via Flickr

They have funny little stems (tops and tails) on each end and they can be kind of fuzzy. Normally a bright, jewel-like green, you can also find red, pink and even purple gooseberries from time to time. They are not the sort of fruit you want to eat raw – before they are cooked gooseberries are almost unbearably sharp and tart. Like rhubarb, gooseberries are best served lightly stewed.

Incidentally, while the Canadian in me would pronounce the name of this fruit as ‘Gooseberries’, saying ‘goose’ like the bird and ‘berry’ as well, ‘berry’, here in England it’s pronounced ‘Guzburry’. I’ve never quite understood this. Okay, ‘berry’ is pronounced ‘burry’ in most parts of England but we say ‘goose’ similarly to North Americans when referring to the species of bird. It’s just one of those great British mysteries – like why ‘Derby’ is pronounced ‘Darby’, ‘shire’ as ‘sheer’ and ‘Birmingham’ as ‘Birmingum’.

Anyway, despite how much I loved gooseberry fool, jam and pie, I never really felt comfortable preparing this curious little fruit myself. Then last year I found some gooseberries at a farm shop not far from where we live called Q Gardens.  I asked about how to cook them and Katie from the shop explained.  Once you’ve topped and tailed the gooseberries they can be cooked whole in pies and crumble recipes just like blueberries. Topping and tailing just means to cut the tiny brown stem from the top and the little green ‘tail’ from the bottom of the berry. This is easily done with scissors. If you want to make Gooseberry Fool, you need to gently cook the berries first with a little water and some sugar. Once you they are soft and broken down, the puree you are left with is lovely served over cereal or mixed into yogurt as well as being used to make my favourite Gooseberry Fool recipe.

How to Make Gooseberry Fool

Fool is a classic English dessert traditionally made with sweetened cream and pureed fruit. It’s been around since the sixteenth century and it’s a great way to use up fruit that it is a bit over ripe or on the tart side. My recipe incorporates yogurt to try to make it a bit healthier. I say ‘try’ because you really do need to add sugar to gooseberries and as the other ingredient is double (heavy) cream, making this dessert healthy is a bit of a gargantuan task. It does however, taste delicious, and in moderation it’s just lovely.

Fools can be prepared a few hours in advance of serving, so they are great for entertaining as it’s easy to make them ahead. They are very rich though, so a little goes a long way. I like to serve the Gooseberry Fool in martini glasses. The fool turns a lovely light green shade due to the colour of the berries so it looks particularly pretty garnished with fresh mint.

Gooseberry Fool can be served with Pistachio Crescents or other light cookies or biscuits alongside if you like.

4.8 from 4 reviews
Gooseberry Fool
Serves: Serves 6
  • 2 cups fresh gooseberries, washed, topped and tailed
  • 4 tablespoons granulated or caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup St Germain liqueur or undiluted elderflower cordial
  • 1½ cups double (heavy) cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • fresh mint leaves to garnish
  1. Place the prepared gooseberries in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in the 4 tablespoons of sugar and water.
  3. Heat over a very low heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit begins to break apart. This will take between 10 and 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir the gooseberries, breaking any remaining pieces of fruit down so that it becomes a rough puree. Don't worry about the seeds. They are very soft and completely edible.
  5. Let the mixture cool. When cool, refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.
  6. Remove the gooseberry puree from the fridge.
  7. Drain away any runny liquid using a sieve.
  8. Stir the St Germain liqueur or elderflower cordial into the gooseberry puree.
  9. Whip the cream and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  10. Whip in the yogurt.
  11. Fold the gooseberry puree very gently into the cream and yogurt mixture. You want to be able to see ripples of gooseberry puree.
  12. Spoon gently into 6 serving dishes.
  13. Refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 4 hours).
  14. Garnish with mint leaves before serving.
'Top and tail' means to remove the dry stem at the top of each gooseberry and the tiny green 'tail' at the bottom. This is easily done with clean, sharp scissors.

St Germain is a liqueur made from elderflowers.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like Turkish Delight Syllabub.

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1291 great articles for us.
April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.
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  1. Looks yummm !
    We get these berries in India but not in Brazil.. Will definitely try to make when I visit India.
    Thanks for liking my Orange Tutti Frutti bread 🙂

  2. What an interesting dessert. I have never seen a gooseberry. I wonder if their available around my parts. Im going to have to ask around.

  3. OMG this sounds awesome, I really have not tried many recipes for Gooseberries, but I see one I would love to today!!

  4. This looks delicious April! I see gooseberries in the market all the time and had no idea what to do with them!
    Pinned and shared!

  5. I cant wait for our gooseberries to come so I can make this.

  6. It’s sad but I don’t expect my kids would even now what a gooseberry looks like as you just don’t see them in the shops any more. Your fool looks wonderful and I am now longing for the taste of gooseberry which reminds me of my childhood!

  7. I love gooseberries so I know I will adore this dessert 🙂

  8. April, this sounds so good, but to be honest, this is the first time I hear about this fruit. The Gooseberry Fool sounds so refreshing and tasty. Pinning!

  9. My mom use to find gooseberries when we would go hunting, or hiking in the woods. This looks like a delicious dessert!

  10. April, we actually do get gooseberries occasionally here in Florida, but I have never tried making any type of dessert with them. Your Gooseberry Fool looks so light and summery…I must give it a whirl!

  11. I’ve heard of gooseberry but never tried it before. I’m super curious as this dessert really looks inviting!

  12. Oh yummy April!

  13. It sounds like a lovely dessert! I have never actually seen gooseberries here, although I had heard of them. I’m always game to try things that are new to me though! Hopefully they will show up around here at the Farmer’s Market one of these days!

  14. We sell gooseberries at the farm and I was thrilled to see this recipe. It looks splendid. Thank you for sharing at the Recipe Swap.

  15. April, this goes onto my must-make list for when I can get hold of some “guzburries.” I would take your pronunciation of Birmingham even further by eliminating the “r” — Buh-ming-um — though that isn’t exactly right either! 😀

    • I hope you enjoy it as much as we do, Jean! You are right, some people do say it Buh-ming-um 🙂 There are so many accents here in the UK, it’s amazing for such a small country!

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