Gooseberry Fool is like a British summer in a bowl. This easy to make, creamy, sweet-tart dessert is a delicious treat, keeps well in the fridge, and is perfect for entertaining. It’s also naturally gluten free!
What on Earth is a Gooseberry?
Gooseberries 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. Green gooseberries are very tart, however, pink, red or purple gooseberries (often called dessert gooseberries) are fairly sweet. The gooseberries I used for the recipe in the photograph were red, but green gooseberries work just as well.
Properly prepared, gooseberries are a gorgeous summer treat, redolent of a beautiful British summer day. Gooseberry Fool is one of my favourite summer desserts. Gooseberry jam is also absolutely delicious, and I will happily abandon my healthy eating resolutions for a good gooseberry pie.
How do you Pronounce Gooseberry?
The Canadian in me would pronounce the name of this fruit as ‘Gooseberries’, saying ‘goose’ like the bird and ‘berry’ as, well, ‘berry’. However here in England it’s pronounced ‘Guzburry’.
I have 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’, ‘Birmingham’ as ‘Birmingum’ and Reading, as Redding.
How to Prepare and Eat Gooseberries
To prepare the gooseberries, start by washing and draining them. Then 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 and is referred to as “topping and tailing” the gooseberries.
Raw gooseberries can then be cooked whole in pies and crumble recipes just like blueberries. Alternatively you can gently stew or poach them on the stove top and use them in fools like this, or stir them through yogurt or porridge.
Gooseberries are extremely tart so I don’t recommend eating them raw.
What’s the History of Gooseberry Fool?
Gooseberry fool is a classic English dessert traditionally made with sweetened cream and pureed fruit. Fruit fools been around since the sixteenth century and are a great way to use up fruit that it is a bit over ripe or on the tart side.
How To Serve Gooseberry Fool
Gooseberry Fool is pretty easy to make, and the only labour intensive part is topping and tailing the gooseberries (see the preparation section above). The thing I love about this kind of dessert is that you can make it ahead of time and have it ready to serve in the fridge for stress free entertaining.
I like to serve Gooseberry Fool in cut glass dishes, martini glasses or (my favourite option) vintage teacups.
The fools will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours, although I prefer to serve them within about 4 to 6 hours of making them.
Gooseberry Fool – Printable Recipe
- 2 cups gooseberries, topped and tailed
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¼ cup St Germain liqueur or undiluted Elderflower cordial
- 1½ cups double or heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ cup vanilla yogurt
- fresh mint to garnish
- Place the gooseberries in a saucepan.
- Stir in the sugar and the water.
- Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit begins to break apart. This will take between ten and fifteen minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir, breaking any remaining pieces of fruit down so that the fruit is a rough puree. Don't worry about the seeds.
- Put the gooseberry puree in a heat-proof bowl.
- Let the mixture cool and then refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.
- Remove the gooseberry puree from the fridge. Drain away any runny liquid using a sieve.
- Stir the St Gemain liqueur or Elderflower cordial into the gooseberry puree.
- Whip the cream and the tablespoon of sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
- Whip in the yogurt.
- Fold the gooseberry puree very gently into the cream and yogurt mixture. It's okay if you can see ripples of puree.
- Spoon gently into 6 serving dishes.
- You can serve the fools immediately but it is best if you can refrigerate them for at least an hour before.
- Garnish each fool with a couple of mint leaves.
- Any leftover Gooseberry Fool will keep for about 24 hours in the fridge.