A traditional gooseberry pie is tough to improve upon.

 

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. (Read more about it here.)

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.

Because we pre-bake the bottom crust to keep it from getting soggy, we can’t use a traditional top crust. (Can’t crimp raw pastry edge with baked pastry edge.) This works to our benefit, though, because keeping the edges of the pie uncovered (along with a center hole) allows steam to escape, helping to thicken the very liquid filling.

 

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 beaten 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 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 ball, stop beating. Do not add too much liquid. Dough should barely hold together. Divide dough into two balls, press into a thick disk with hands, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer.

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

Once bottom crust has baked, and filling has cooled, pour gooseberry filling into bottom crust. Slice 4 tablespoons of butter on top of filling, then 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 pie guard over 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 rack below pie to catch any spilling juices. There will be some.)

Allow pie to cool completely before serving. Serves 8.

 

Comments15

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  • By: Kevin

    My suggestion to all is grow you own Gooseberry Bushes-can be bought via Burpee’s, starks, etc online. Mine are loaded again this year and getting ready to make a couple of pies to take to work. Everyone begs me to make the pies every year. Realitively easy to grow and mine thrive in the rhubarb patch.

  • By: James Way

    Man oh man, I remember the Highland Cafe, in Des Moines, Iowa and their gooseberry pie (warm) with ice cream. Have never found it anywhere else and have never found gooseberries anywhere. I am amazed that most people do not know what a gooseberry is. I will surely buy a carton from Amazon now that I know someone sells the fruit.

  • By: JoAnnette Sieve

    Pixwell are the kind of bushes I have. They do well for me up here in the high country of Colorado

  • By: rational0365

    I am a seventy-six year old man who grew up with gooseberry pie and I can attest that you have not lived yet, until you bite into and pucker up to the incredibly sweet and sour taste of gooseberry. I have huge bushes that I bought and have grown but do not get more than a half dozen berries. Guess I need to do something different. Good thing that I have planned to live to be 107 and to die at the hands of a jealous young husband. I have got to find some gooseberry pie mix. The last I purchased on line was from an Ohio farm but they are out now. bikesinglove@yahoo.com

  • By: Stephanie

    Gooseberries grow wild on our new property in Wisconsin. I’ve never had them before, but my husband loved gooseberry pie that his grandma made when he was a boy. Excited to try your recipe out!

  • By: Pam Markley

    Where can one purchase goose berries? I live central Fl. and have never seen them here?
    Are they available in a canned preparation?

    • By: Bess

      Hi
      I, too, live in Florida and have never seen gooseberries. I made my Dad a Father’s Day pie and ordered some gooseberries on line. The company is called Northwest Wild Foods. They shipped them on ice. The berries were giant and the pie was a huge success!
      🙂

  • By: Rebecca

    I really want to make this today but don’t have tapioca. Would flour be a good substitute?

  • By: Amy Smith Wexler

    I made your pie but instead of fresh ginger I used candied ginger chopped fine about two tablespoons..fantastic!

  • By: Linda Brackett

    Perhaps I too would think gooseberries made the best pies….if I had a clue where to find them…..

  • By: Annieman

    I would love to try growing gooseberries. I think I remember that you purchased some plants to add to what was already growing on the farm? Do you mind sharing which varieties you bought?

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