This wholesome Gooseberry Pie recipe puts this delicious, seasonal berry to excellent use. A delightfully tangy, sweet, and comforting vegan Gooseberry Pie inspired by Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie. Serve this traditional English pie with lashes of vegan custard or ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.
The season for gooseberries is here, the juicy berries are ripe and ready to be used! I’ve been making gooseberry jam for years, but I hadn’t had much baking experience with them, so I baked this gooseberry pie, which is something I’ve wanted to try ever since I first heard of gooseberry pie from the movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. My family and I loved how this pie turned out, and I seriously regret not trying it sooner!
How does Gooseberry Pie taste?
A flaky shortcrust pastry case is filled with tangy, juicy gooseberries. Gooseberries have a really tart taste, so the addition of the sugar creates a beautiful balance with the tartness of the berries. If I had to compare this pie to something, I’d say it tastes quite similar to an apple pie, but with an extra hint of tartness, and the stewed berries give the filling a deliciously velvety consistency. The flaky shortcrust pastry, and tangy, juicy berries makes a combination that’s hard to resist!
What are Gooseberries?
Gooseberries, in my option, are one of the most underrated berries! It a shame that they have fallen out of fashion, and it’s a little difficult to come about these berries in supermarkets as they’re not as commonly used as they once were. The 19th century saw a great rise in the prominence of the humble gooseberry, they became so popular that ‘gooseberry clubs’ were formed across the UK, with their members competing to grow the biggest berry. The long history of the gooseberry in the UK had led to an amusing bunch of local names: ‘Carberry’, ‘Dabberry’, ‘Dayberry’, ‘Dewberry’, ‘Fayberry’, ‘Feaberry’, ‘Fabes’, ‘Fapes’, ‘Feabs’, ‘Goggle’, ‘Golfob’, ‘Goosegog’, ‘Goosegob’, ‘Groser’, ‘Groset’, ‘Grizzle’ ‘Honey-blob (my favourite name)’, but today it is known simply as ‘Goosebeery’. They are incredibly tart if picked early in June, which makes them the ideal berry for jams, conserves, crumbles and pies. July is the best month to pick them as they become deliciously sweet and juicy.
Where to find gooseberries?
If you're based in the UK, you can find them at most Waitrose supermarkets. They're usually sold in the berry section at Waitrose when gooseberries are in season. You can also find them in many 'pick-your-own' farms across the UK. If you're unable to find fresh gooseberries, frozen gooseberries will work just fine.
There are a few varieties of gooseberries. Some are green/yellow and very tart, others are orange/red and sweet, The type of gooseberry you use while baking will determine how much sugar you’ll need, and generally speaking, you’ll need a little more sugar to balance out the tartness if you’re using green gooseberries. There are two main types of gooseberries: European gooseberries and American gooseberries. There are also different types of fruit known as gooseberries, such as the Indian gooseberry and Cape gooseberry, which are quite large in size and also taste a lot more bitter and astringent compared to the American and European gooseberry.
Gooseberry Pie ingredients
Here’s everything you’ll need for this delicious pie – consider it your shopping list!
For the Shortcrust pastry:
Plain flour: Used to make the vegan shortcrust pastry. Make sure not to use self-raising flour!
Sugar: The sugar will give the shortcrust pastry a subtle sweetness. You could caster sugar or icing sugar instead of granulated sugar.
Vegan block butter: I used the Flora vegan butter block, but ant plant-based butter will do. using a block butter will give the shortcrust pastry a light and crumbly texture. I wouldn’t recommend using margarine as it won’t create the same outcome.
For the filling:
Gooseberries: You’ll need around 600g green European gooseberries. Make sure to use tart gooseberries as the work best as a pie filling.
Sugar: You'll need some granulated sugar to add sweetness to the filling. You could use a sweetener, but the level of sweetness will vary, so you may have to make adjustments to the amount you add.
Vanilla extract: The vanilla extract gives the the filling a lovely flavour and aroma.
Cornstarch: Gooseberries can release a lot of water when cooked, so the cornstarch is used to thicken and set the filling.
Couse semolina: The semolina is sprinkled along the base of the crust so that the excess juice from is the berries is absorbed. This will prevent the bottom from becoming soggy.
Ice cream or custard: This pie tastes delicious on it's own, warm or cold, but why not make it even more irresistible by serving it with a big scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream or a dollop of vegan custard.
How to make Gooseberry Pie
To make the shortcrust pastry, place the flour, sugar, vegan butter, and 7-8 tbsp cold water in a large bowl & mix until the ingredients start to come together. Knead the dough for a few minutes until a smooth dough has formed. Divide the dough in half, cover each piece of dough with cling film and place in fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F/gas mark 4. Dust some flour onto a clean surface and use a rolling pin to roll one of the dough pieces to about ½ cm thickness and create a round shape big enough to fit a 8-9 inch pie dish. Lift the dough away using the rolling pin and place into the pie dish. If the dough breaks apart, just cover the cracks with the scrap pieces of dough. Press the edges down and leave the dough hanging from the sides. Place the pastry base to chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling, remove the stems from the gooseberries. Add the gooseberries, sugar, and vanilla extract to a medium saucepan. Combine the cornstarch with 1 tbsp water to create a thick paste. Add the cornstarch paste to the saucepan, give everything a mix, and stew the berries on a medium heat for around 20 minutes, until the berries have softened, and the liquid becomes a custardy consistency. Make sure to stir continuously while the filling cooks to prevent any lumps from forming. Allow the filling to cool down completely, then scatter the semolina all over the base of the pastry and spoon the filling mixture into the prepared pie base.
Roll out the remaining dough to an 11-12-inch round. Brush the edge of the pie crust with some water. Lift away the rolled out dough with the help of a rolling pin and place carefully on top of the pie. Use a knife to trim the edges, then use your fingers to crimp and seal the edges. To decorate, use the scraps of dough to create Grumpy’s name of top of the pie. Now make a few slits on both sides of the pie, about the 2cm long to allow the steam from the gooseberries to escape.
Brush the top of the pie with a little bit of melted vegan butter. Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the crust has browned and the filling is bubbly. Remove from oven and let it cool down for 15 minutes before serving.
How to store Gooseberry Pie?
This pie is best eaten on the day its baked as the crust will lose its crispness the longer it’s left to wait. If you’re not serving it right away, you can store it for 2-3 days in an airtight container at room temperature. I wouldn’t suggest storing it in the fridge as this case cause the crust to become too hard.
Can this pie be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze gooseberry pie, but as I’ve mentioned before, this tart is most delicious when it’s eaten fresh. If you’re going to freeze it, place it in a container or wrap in in cling film, and store in the freezer for up to a month. To defrost the gooseberry pie, remove it from the freezer and leave out room temperature for around 4 hours, or until it’s thawed.
Can I use store-bought shortcrust pastry for this pie?
Yes, ready-to-roll shortcrust pastry can be used instead of making your own, but I promise you it won’t taste as good as a homemade pie crust.
What tins to use?
I'd recommend using an 8-9 inch pie dish. To make it easier to slice and take out the pie, use a pin tin with a removeable base.
Notes and Tips
I’d recommend you use a tart tin with a Removable Loose Bottom so that the pie is easier to take out once it’s baked.
I recommend using the gram measurements rather than the cup conversions. When it comes to baking, accuracy is key, and cups conversions are never as accurate as grams.
For the best, crispy pastry, make sure that you don’t overwork the dough. Before rolling the dough out, place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
When rolling out the dough, make sure to keep it about ½ cm thick – if the pastry is too thick, it won’t cook through, and it’ll be hard to slice.
Make sure your vegan butter and water are chilled when preparing the shortcrust pastry as it’ll give it a crisper texture when baked.