Old Fashioned Gooseberry Pie

Everyone knows how much we love pie at Beekman 1802 Farm. And even though we’re always trying some new experiments with our pies, we always agree that the more traditional the recipe, the better it tastes. Why do grandma’s recipes turn out best? Because she experimented in her youth too and realized that her grandmother was right all along. That’s the nature of heirloom cooking.

It’s tough to find a more traditional pie than a gooseberry. These sweet-tart fruits have been popular for centuries. Too popular, actually…the Gooseberry Craze of the 19th Century resulted in the fruit’s eventual overuse and antiquated reputation.

We resisted the urge to adulterate our Beekman 1802 Old Fashioned Gooseberry Pie. The only additional flavorings are a little orange and ginger. Which, actually, are pretty traditional in themselves. Because gooseberries contain so much liquid, we bake the bottom crust first before adding filling to keep it from getting soggy.

We then lay cut out pastry circles on the top, with a center hole and space around the edges to allow steam to escape and the filling to thicken. As with all high-liquid pie fillings, any sort of open lattice top crust will help firm up the filling.

We hope you enjoy it…and if you can’t resist the urge to experiment, let us know what you tried in the comments section.

Overhead shot of a baked gooseberry pie

Old Fashioned Gooseberry Pie

For the crust:

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks, (16 Tablespoons) very cold butter, cut into cubes
  • Approx 4 Tablespoons of ice-cold milk (plus 4 more, if needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • One egg beat together with 1 tablespoon milk for glazing top crust

For filling:

  • 5 cups whole gooseberries
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • Juice and zest of one orange
  • 1/3 cup instant tapioca
  • 4 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To make the crust, use a stand mixer with paddle beater. Beat together butter, flour, sugar, and salt until butter is in flakes, coated with flour. Do not over mix. Slowly add very cold milk, one or two tablespoons at a time. When dough first begins to form a ball, stop beating. Do not add too much liquid. The dough should barely hold together. Divide dough into two balls, press into a thick disk with hands, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.

While the dough is chilling, begin preparing the filling. Combine all ingredients except butter in a large saucepan, and place over medium heat. Cover until gooseberries begin to soften and burst (about 5 minutes.) Then uncover, and keep barely simmering on medium-low heat for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool while rolling out pastry.

Once the dough has chilled, remove from refrigerator and roll out one disk on a lightly floured surface until large enough to cover bottom and sides of the pie dish, with 3/4 inch overhang. Crimp edges decoratively, and set pie weights on top of bottom crust. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Do not let edges of crust burn. Cover with aluminum foil or pie guard if necessary.

While the bottom crust is baking, roll out second pastry disk. Using a small biscuit cutter or rim of a small juice glass, cut out circles from the rolled dough. Place circles on a baking tray and return immediately to the refrigerator or freezer to keep chilled. (Do not re-roll scraps of extra pastry dough, they will become tough. Bake on a separate baking sheet to snack on with ice cream.)

Once the bottom crust has baked, and filling has cooled, pour gooseberry filling into bottom crust. Slice 4 tablespoons of butter on top of the filling, then a decorative layer of pastry circles in concentric pattern, leaving a hole in the middle and around the outer edge. Brush top disks with beaten egg/milk mixture. Use aluminum foil strips or a pie guard over the crust. Return to oven and bake for 35 to 50 minutes, or until juices are vigorously bubbling. (Be sure to place a baking sheet on the rack below the pie to catch any spilling juices. There will be some.)

Allow pie to cool completely before serving. Serves 8.