Gooseberry pie with apple and elderflower

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This magnificent gooseberry pie recipe from Louise Robinson puts this truly seasonal fruit to excellent use. Paired with apple and elderflower for a quintessential summer dessert, serve this pie with lashes of custard, clotted cream or ice cream for a perfect summer dessert. Use our handy guide to create a perfect lattice pie top.

First published in 2016

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.




Gooseberry pie filling

  • 1.2kg gooseberries, topped and tailed
  • 1kg cooking apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 250g of caster sugar
  • 5 tbsp of elderflower cordial, undiluted


  • 500g of plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 375g of unsalted butter, cut into 1cm dice
  • 120ml of iced water
  • 1 egg white
  • Demerara sugar, 1-2 tbsp for the topping


First make the pastry by combining the flour, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl
Add one third of the diced butter and lightly rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the remaining butter and work as lightly as possible until the butter pieces are tiny and almost all rubbed in
Add the iced water in several stages, using your fingers to gently pull the mixture together to form a ball, but try not to overwork it
Cut the dough in half and gently shape each piece into a ball. Wrap each ball in greaseproof paper and flatten with the palm of your hand to form a disc about 2cm thick. Place the dough in the fridge for an hour to firm up
Meanwhile, make the filling by cutting each apple quarter into three pieces and placing in a stainless steel pan with the gooseberries, caster sugar and elderflower cordial
Cook over a medium heat until the apples pieces start to become tender and the gooseberries start to soften. Remove the fruit from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in a large sieve on top of a bowl to drain
Add any juices from the drained fruit in the bowl to the juices in the pan and turn up the heat. Let the juice boil for 5–10 minutes until it thickens, then leave to cool
While the filling is cooling, remove one piece of pastry from the fridge, roll out on a work surface lightly dusted with flour and use to cover a 27cm wide, (18cm base width), 5cm deep pie dish
Leave any pastry hanging over the edge for the moment and place the pastry covered pie dish back in the fridge, loosely covered with cling film
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
When the filling is completely cool, remove the pie dish and use a slotted spoon to fill the pie with the drained fruit. Spoon over the thickened fruit juices
Remove the remaining piece of pastry from the fridge and follow the link to the guide in the introduction to create a lattice top. If you prefer to make a simple pastry top, roll out the pastry so that it is large enough to use as a lid for the pie
Brush the pastry edges of the dish with egg white, lay the pastry on top of the pie and press gently around the edge with your fingers or a fork to seal. Trim any overhanging pastry, using any scraps to decorate the top if you wish
Lightly whisk the egg white with a fork until just frothy and use a pastry brush to lightly brush over the pastry. Sprinkle the Demerara sugar all over the top
Place in the preheated over for 50–60 minutes or until golden brown
Leave the pie to cool slightly for 20–30 minutes before serving with double cream, custard or ice-cream
First published in 2016

Louise Robinson is a former fashion accessories designer turned freelance food writer, stylist and photographer now based in the Sussex countryside.

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