Nothing screams summer more than seeing juicy berry fruits ripening in the garden: and nothing beats the taste of picking them straight from the plant and popping it in your mouth. However, I often experience a glut in fruits, so look for alternative ways to use them up sometimes combining different berries to create delicious new desserts. One of my most successful and prolific fruits is a red gooseberry a variety that you never see in the supermarkets, so when I combined its slightly tangy taste with the sweetness of my strawberries an altogether new flavour was formed. Though this recipe works just as well with any gooseberry.
Strawberries are also part of the rosacea family and native to several continents including Europe and South America. They have been gathered from the forests since Roman times, though records state that in the 14th Century the French began bringing the plants from the forests into their gardens. Although not technically a fruit (as the seeds are on the outside,) strawberries are just as nutrient rich as other berries and full of vitamins C and K, manganese and potassium.
Ingredients (serves 6)
450g of Gooseberries
450g of Strawberries
275g of Greek Style Plain Yoghurt
This recipe works best if the fruit is prepared the evening before.
- Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas 4.
- Wash, top and tail the gooseberries, patting them try with some kitchen paper.
- Warm a glass/Pyrex bow, for a few minutes with boiling water from a kettle. Tip away the water quickly wipe the bowl with kitchen paper and place four tablespoons of honey into it. Next drop the gooseberries into the honey and use a spoon to gently turn the fruit, ensuring they are all evenly coated. Don’t be afraid to add more honey if needed.
- Transfer the honey-coated gooseberries to a flat oven-proof dish and cook in the centre of the oven for 20-30 minutes. The fruit should feel just tender when ready.
- Whilst the gooseberries are baking, prepare the strawberries, by washing, de-stemming and drying with kitchen paper. Don’t worry if some of the fruits are starting to go soft. Cut them into quarters and place them in a single layer in a lidded plastic tub. (You may need several smaller plastic tubs).
- Once layered pour some clear honey over them turning the fruit until evenly coated. Next add a generous sprinkling of black pepper on top (as this breaks down the fruit and brings out the flavour), seal and leave in the fridge overnight.
- When the gooseberries are done, place them in a sieve over a jug and allow the excess juices to run off. Keep the juice. When the gooseberries are cool, put them in a covered bowl in the fridge overnight. Keep the cooled juice in the fridge overnight too.
- The following day using a sieve drain the excess juice off the strawberries reserving it for later.
- Mix a quarter of both fruits in a dish and place back in the fridge.
- Blitz the rest of the gooseberries and strawberries in a food processor, they need to resemble a thickish puree, if it looks too lumpy add a few tablespoons of either the gooseberry or strawberry juice, (depending on how you want it to taste,) one spoonful at a time until you reach the correct consistency.
- Open the yoghurt and pour it into a cold glass mixing bowl and give it a stir.
- Divide half of the puree into six wine or cocktail glasses. Gently fold the other half of the fruit puree into the yoghurt.
- Fill each of the glasses with a layer of yoghurt, before adding the final layer of un-pureed fruit (from the fridge,) on the top.
- Lastly swirl the last of the gooseberry and/or strawberry juice over the top before serving.
NOTE: 1) Decorate with Mixed Spice or Cinnamon for a warmer taste if you prefer.
Tip – Transform into gooseberry and strawberry icecream
It is possible to make an instant ice-cream instead of a fool, by pureeing all of the fruit (using the above methods) and freezing it until solid. Once frozen tip the puree into a food blender, add double cream and blitz. The frozen fruit will instantly freeze the cream which can then be eaten as Ice-cream straight away. Do not re-freeze.