After a rant on Twitter about the lack of gooseberries this year, some beautiful dessert gooseberries suddenly appeared in Waitrose, although I can’t imagine I had much influence on that! I eagerly snapped up three boxes on Friday and made this for friends last night. The most enthusiastic was a young French friend whose response was “I lur-r-rve crumble!”. I have to say it was good but actually I am still mourning the hard little sour green berries, which used to be available around the Whit Bank Holiday at the end of May, to coincide with flowers from the ubiquitous elder tree, and with which gooseberries are the perfect partner. However, crushed coriander seeds are also good, as follows:
Ingredients for 4-6 individual portions:
175g wholemeal wheat or spelt flour
60g (pref) golden caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
1 good tblspn coriander seeds
750g dessert gooseberries
Further 100g caster sugar
Further 30g unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 200 degs
1. In a largish bowl rub the butter into the flour as if making shortcrust pastry, and then rub through the 60g sugar
2. Crush the coriander seeds with a pestle, to release the pungent aroma, and stir them through
3. Top and tail the gooseberries, and stir them round in a bowl with the second lot of sugar (if you are lucky enough to have the non-dessert variety, then you will probably need to increase the sugar by 30% or so), and some elderflowers if you live in the North of England where they are still out.
4. Put them in individual ovenproof serving dishes, packed to the top, with some water coming 1/3 of the way up the dishes. Then sprinkle the crumble mixture lightly over them.
5. Dot the tops with the 30g butter
6. Put the dishes on a shallow roasting tray and place in the oven. Carefully pour some water into the tin to make a bain-marie.
7. Bake for 15 mins, then look to see if the gooseberries are just cooked and the crumble golden brown. Last night, I turned the oven setting on to the grill, and browned them for a further 5 mins, which did the trick perfectly.
The great thing about crumbles is that you don’t have to be too precious about them, and they “behave” well. What I mean by this is that they don’t suffer from a bit of rough treatment: you can let them cool down, and then heat them up, freeze them and reheat in the oven (but not microwave). Because of all that, it’s good to make batches and freeze them in their dishes, and then you’re ready for any unexpected weekend guests.
Serve with creme fraiche, fromage frais, vanilla ice cream or what you will. And have some extra sugar on the table for those with a sweet tooth.