Goosegogs

Goosegog: British slang for gooseberry, the round, slightly fuzzy, green or red sour fruit that grows on thorny bushes. It is derived from the goose in gooseberry + gog, a variant of gob meaning a mouth, mouthful or lump. Folk etymologies for the name of the fruit are inconclusive, none actually explaining “why goose?” in relation to the berry. Whatever their meaning, they grow in my garden as you can see below in the photo taken last summer.

gooseberries_garden

Gooseberry is also a name for a fool, so appropriate as we approach April 1st. Fool has an alternate meaning as a creamy dessert, a conceit from an earlier time when sweets were given nonsensical names. Perhaps by coincidence, gooseberries make a classic British fool, or, if we’re being fanciful, a fool’s fool. That leads me to one of my favorite quotations from the Bard and a conundrum – is a fool foolish?

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
– William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 5 Scene 1

gooseberry_fool

Layered Gooseberry Fool
I’ve used the last of my frozen gooseberries – both red and green – for this dessert, making space in the freezer for this year’s crop. And, instead of stewing gooseberries, as most recipes indicate, I make a smoother, richer gooseberry curd before folding into the whipped cream to make this bi-colored fool.

The Gooseberries

  • 2 cups frozen green gooseberries
  • 2 cups frozen red gooseberries plus 1/2 cup loganberries or raspberries

gooseberries_green

Without defrosting, put the green gooseberries in a pot, keeping the red gooseberries (+ loganberries/raspberries) in reserve.

gooseberry_fool_prep1

Turn the heat on medium and stew the gooseberries until they have burst, mashing them a little to extract the juices. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes.

gooseberry_fool_prep2

Turn off heat and press through a fine meshed sieve. Reserve the juices and pulp. Discard the seeds, skin & other solids.

gooseberries_red

Now do the same for the red gooseberries, adding the loganberries or raspberries to make the juice. This will enhance the red color of the finished juice. Keep each batch separate – green and red.

The Gooseberry Curd

  • 3/4 cup juice from strained mashed stewed gooseberries (either the green or the red, separate, not mixed)
  • 2 oz. butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

The red and green gooseberry curds will be made separately. The ingredients listed above are for one batch of curd. It will need to be repeated with the second batch of gooseberry curd. You will have two curds – one green gooseberry, the other red gooseberry.

gooseberry_fool_prep3

Assemble all but the eggs into a saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves and the butter melts. Spoon a little of the gooseberry mixture into the beaten egg to temper – mix. With a whisk, beat the gooseberry mixture while pouring in the tempered egg. Continue to whisk until the egg has been incorporated and the mixture begins to thicken. Lower the heat and continue cooking and stirring for another 3 to 4 minutes for a smooth curd. While still hot, put it through a sieve to remove any bits of egg whites. The curd will get slightly thicker as it cools.

The Fool

Serves about 6

  • Green gooseberry curd (above – approximately 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups)
  • Red gooseberry curd (same as the green gooseberry curd)
  • 2 cups Heavy cream

Place each of the curds in their own bowl. the curd should be at room temperature when making the fool. Whip the cream until peaks form. Divide the cream in half and fold into the curds. You will have two gooseberry creams – one pinky-red, the other pale yellow-green.

Carefully layer the green gooseberry cream into the bottom quarter of a tall stemmed glass. I used a piping bag which allowed me to easily reach into the glass interior. Follow this by the red gooseberry cream, then another layer of green, followed by the top layer of red.

gooseberry_fool_prep4

Cover the top with clingfilm (= SaranWrap) and chill. Serve with long handled ice tea spoons.

gooseberry_fool_finished

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19 comments

  1. My Mum always said the third person cramping a romantic couple’s space was “playing gooseberry.” It’s rare to see gooseberries in Australia, though I remember the tartness of them from my childhood. I wasn’t very impressed then but would probably love them now. Love love love the sound off your curd, I’m thinking this would be delicious with rhubarb too!

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    • Rhubarb curd is marvellous! I also grow loganberries (a hybrid cross between raspberry and blackberry) that makes the BEST curd ever – tart and sweet. Yes, a gooseberry is the third person cramping the style of a couple, hence the fool. I never saw gooseberries in the US and was only introduced to them here in Britain. They always seem to me a very British fruit, along with red and black currants.

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      • Loganberries are easy to get here in the late summer, and red currants are always available at Christmas time (thankfully, we love summer pudding for Christmas day) but black currants, sadly other than as pastilles, I’ve never had the opportunity to taste them. I’m excited at the prospect of rhubarb curd, look out for a post!!

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  2. Gooseberries are quite common in Finland and many grow them in their yards. We don’t have them…yet! But if I get my hands on some I will be giving your recipe a try.

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    • Ah, those Scandinavians and their berries! That was the one of the things that made an impression on me when we spent some time in Sweden. Gooseberries aren’t too difficult to grow, but you have to watch out for leaf cutter caterpillars who will strip the bush of its leaves in no time. I love the tart flavor and also make a gooseberry jam from the red ones. They also freeze well.

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  3. And LOVE the idea of gooseberry curd, have made citrus curds and have recently been thinking about trying other fruits at some point (had only got as far as blackcurrant though…)

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  4. Goosegobs – who whouda thought?! Learn something new everyday…love your berry curds – not something I do but you have made it sound so easy that I will give it a try when I get my hands on some berries…x

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    • Berry curds are easy – and so delicious. My favourite is loganberry curd. I also use curds in summer fruit tarts and pavlovas. My garden is full of berries that we enjoy fresh, make into jams or freeze for the winter months – they come in handy for puddings and smoothies.

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  5. Think I may just have one last bag of gooseberries in the freezer and this will be much better than a crumble. Why did I never think to use a piping bag to fill a glass? I always try to do it with a spoon and end up with a big dollop sliding down the inside.

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    • The piping bag solution came to me after I attempted filling the first glass with a spoon, making a mess down the sides! Freezing berries from the garden is great, but by this time of year it is an exercise thinking up ways to use them to get ready for the new crops.

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  6. Wish I could beat the gooseberry caterpillars – I’ve only 2 plants, and they get stripped very quickly! Such a shame… Thanks for the idea, though!

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    • I’m vigilant – every morning during growing season I check for the pests. I use an environmentally friendly, organic spray if I see any caterpillars. I only have three bushes – all very productive. They’re next to currants which are also affected by the leaf cutters. They really do a lot of damage in such a short time. Hope you have luck in future keeping them at bay.

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  7. I hope I won’t get expelled from the food blogger community 😉 but I have never heard of gooseberries. They look so appealing! And so does your dessert. I have to look for them next time I go grocery shopping.

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    • You won’t get expelled! 😉 I never had gooseberries until I moved to Britain, although I had read about them – mostly in novels. They were like those highbrow words you see in print, but have never actually heard spoken. Familiar, yet unfamiliar. Hope you find some. They are very tart and are not the sort of fruit you would eat raw – kind of like rhubarb.

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