26 July 2008

One berry, two berry, pick me a gooseberry!

Posted in food at 11:04 pm by Tricia

We’ve been living in this house for 11 years. The first fall we were here, my dad went into the backyard to “prune back” the trees so it would be easier to mow. He got a little overzealous and decimated a large stand of lilacs, a few of which have managed to recover a teeny bit. He also seriously pruned back a very old grape vine. (The earliest owner of the house was a Greek family, who used grape leaves for cooking [not wine].)

mystery bush in my backyard

mystery bush in my backyard

Gooseberries, on the cane

Gooseberries, on the cane

So this past week I found gooseberries in my backyard. I’d seen the plant before, it has intricately shaped leaves that I found attractive, so I left the mystery plant alone. Now I have to wonder: was this another plant my dad cut back, that is just now recovering? (it’s near, but not directly in the location that got savagely lovingly pruned) Or was it a volunteer? (Not likely, given the reaction most people have when I mention gooseberries – what I mean is, it doesn’t seem to be common in this area.)

Gooseberries, big and small

Gooseberries, big and small. Guess which are from my yard!

The past couple of years I’ve made it a habit to buy gooseberries from our favorite apple and cider vendor – they have rhubarb and iris in the spring and early summer, then some of these “exotic” berries, then they disappear for a few weeks until the peaches come in, then they overflow with apples through the end of the season. So anyway, I buy the gooseberries, trying to broaden my berry experience – but I am never quite sure what to do with them. Spurred into action by the new-found bounty in the backyard, and a comment from my friend Kim, I decided to make a pie (using my berries to supplement those from the Farmer’s Market). For some reason, this sour cream gooseberry pie (at allrecipes.com) appealed to me more than gooseberries alone, so I made it. I used a flaky buttery pastry recipe from The Heritage of Southern Cooking for the crusts. I increased the berries to 2 cups (as most commenters recommended), but I only had an 8″ pie pan so I had to scoop out some of the ‘sauce.’ I was worried it would overflow anyway, so was pleasantly surprised when it did not.

Uncooked sour cream gooseberry pie

sour cream gooseberry pie, ready to go in the oven

End result: delicious! This may become a summer tradition at our house. It’s good warm, good with ala mode, and even good for breakfast. (Home-made poptart, that’s how I justify pie for breakfast!)

Pie. Yum!

Pie: it's what's for breakfast!

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8 Comments »

  1. NWHiker said,

    Mmmmm…. I love gooseberries…. Jelly being my fave thing to do with ’em.

    Enjoy!

  2. Tricia said,

    Do they grow wild in your area, or are they plentiful in markets?

    And that reminds me, I forgot to ask: am I supposed to pull off all those little stem things at the far end (opposite the actual stem)? Because I did, but it’s a hassle…

  3. ladrgrl said,

    First, this pie looks amazing! How delicious!

    Second, I want to thank you for posting on my blog (nopeanutsplease) I appreciate your comments. That is a great idea about the cream cheese separate. My son loves Triscuits so we’ll have to try cream cheese on them.

    Unfortunately our elementary school doesn’t seem to have had very many, if any, peanut allergies before. They’ve had milk, asthma, ADHD but never mentioned peanut. The only people taught how to use an epi is the nurse and secretary. I have a lot of things to work out with them before next school year. I think they are going to be receptive to it and that is half the battle.

    Thanks again for your comments, I have bookmarked your blog because you have some great posts!

  4. Tricia said,

    Glad you stopped by, ladrgrl. The more I thought about it some more, and I think maybe just the office staff (nurse [shared between buildings], secretaries, principal) are trained with epi-pens. But yet I know the pens always go along on field trips (I’ve seen the ’emergency kit’!) so maybe teachers are too? I guess I don’t know. But anyway, given that your school is receptive, that should help. I doubt this will be the last time they encounter a peanut allergy, but it must be frustrating for you to be the one who has to make sure safety procedures are in place!

  5. Oh, those are just delightful, Tricia.

  6. Tricia said,

    Thanks, Susan. I had to freeze some gooseberries because I wasn’t able to use them up before we leave on a trip – I hope to make another pie with them later in the year.

    And for the record: from another batch of recipes, I learned that I am supposed to “stem and tail” the berries.

  7. Maggie said,

    I love how pretty your little ones are. Now I want to find some gooseberries!

  8. Tricia said,

    Updating my post: Earlier this month (May 2009), I defrosted gooseberries from last summer and made another sour cream gooseberry pie to take in for Teacher Appreciation Week. I was again worried about having it overflow and had some leftover pie crust dough, so I made a mini pie for me and Jonski Papa. We both thought it tasted fabulous, and the teacher who selected our pie said it was “the best.” (the best pie ever? the best pie she ate that day? the best gooseberry pie? that part was left unspecified!)


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