Another joy of British summertime is the gooseberry. I find something rather amusing about gooseberries, though I'm not sure why. I think perhaps it is that they are hairy and a little awkward looking:
What delicious little fruits these are though. They have a short season so grab them while you can. Whilst later in the season you can find red gooseberries, which are sweeter, these stripy and hairy green beauties are more common. They are very tart so require the addition of sugar to balance out the flavour. Stewed and added to cream or custard, they make a terrific fool or ice cream. But my favourite way to eat them is beneath a layer of buttery crumble. It might not seem the most summery of puddings, but it really is good.
I terribly miss hot puds in the summer and this really satisfied my craving. I'd been enjoying supper al fresco last weekend and as I served this indulgent dish, there was just a slight nip in the air. This was just perfect for warming me back up so that I could enjoy sitting outside a little later. A bowl of cold berries or homemade ice cream might have seemed more appropriate, but would surely have had me retreating indoors far earlier!
Gooseberry crumble is delicious at its simplest of course, but there are a couple of additions that I think lift it a notch in the flavour stakes. I added a little elderflower cordial to the fruit and also some ground almonds to the crumble mixture. I think both flavours compliment the gooseberries well.
In a bid to make you all jealous, I thought I'd let you know that I am off for a week's holiday to beautiful Tuscany tomorrow. I can hardly wait (thought I've not even got the suitcase out yet). There will therefore be a lull in posts. We are staying in a stunning villa and will be doing our own cooking though so I'm sure I'll have lots to report upon my return!
6oz plain flour
4 tbsp ground almonds
1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Rinse the gooseberries and then top and tail. Place in the bottom of an ovenproof dish.
2. Sprinkle over some sugar to taste - I would suggest around 3-4 tablespoons. Drizzle over a little elderflower cordial - a couple of tablespoons should be about right. More if you are especially fond of elderflower.
3. Prepare the crumble by rubbing the butter into the flour and sugar until you have crumbs. You can do this in the food processor but go easy - I sometimes find that it makes the crumble too fine. Mix in the ground almonds.
4. Sprinkle the crumble over the fruit and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden on top and bubbling around the sides. Serve with custard, cream or ice-cream.
Notes - gooseberries can also work well in some savoury dishes and are particularly good with oily fish such a mackerel.