One of the only fruits that remains truly seasonal, gooseberries are only available in selected shops and farmers markets for a few brief weeks. If there is one fruit that invokes a sense of childhood nostalgia, it is the gooseberry. My grandmother had several bushes in her garden, laden with the jade green berries as hard as bullets. If tempted to eat one raw, they had sour sharpness that could take your breath away. Harvest time was fraught with injury, despite warnings to be careful of the thorns, vicious scratches were inevitable but worn with pride.
After filling almost every basket and bowl in the kitchen to the brim and endless ‘topping and tailing’ my grandmother would set about making jam and compotes for cakes. There would be desserts galore, a gooseberry fool one evening and a crumble or cobbler the next. But it was a deep filled pie that I longed for most, generous with fruit and topped with crispy, buttery pastry. If I was especially lucky there would be a jug of custard, but otherwise it was served with thick yellow jersey cream from the farm next door.
This gooseberry pie is inspired by those wonderful memories, but with the addition of apple and elderflower which complements the tart berries so beautifully. I have used a 27cm wide, (18cm base width), 5cm deep pie dish here, but you do not have such a big dish or prefer less filling, simply reduce the quantities by a third. The lattice top is easier than it looks, especially if you follow this guide, but otherwise a regular pastry topping would be just as nice.