Gooseberry and almond tart
Krusbärspaj med mandel
Gooseberries grow wild in Sweden, but probably only where there are abandoned farms. In fact the popularity of gooseberries goes back a long way as they have been cultivated in Sweden since the 1500s as they thrive in Sweden's cool climate with its damp soil.
Gooseberries fell out of favour with greater affluence, but they are now making a bit of a comeback and are beginning to appear more frequently on supermarket shelves in Sweden and in the UK. This is good news as there is nothing else quite like gooseberries with their fragrant, musky jelly like interiors, even if picking them is a bit of pain, literally!
Blott Sverige svenska krusbär har
In 1838 Carl Jonas Love Almqvist wrote a well known rhyme, blott Sverige svenska krusbär har (there is nothing like Swedish gooseberries). It was part of an essay on Sweden and the Swedes, called On Poverty. In it he explained that being Swedish means being poor (Sweden was a poor, agrarian country at that time). Nevertheless he said Swedes should be proud of their country, its lakes, rivers and forests and learn to appreciate even the simplest things, like gooseberries, sour as they are - maybe the most commonly grown bush in all gardens, rich or poor, at that time.
A double dose of gooseberries
There is a double dose of gooseberries with this recipe will help you to appreciate the wonderful taste and texture of gooseberries. Essentially a rustic style pastry case is filled with a gooseberry compote made with green cooking berries, topped with some gorgeous sweet red gooseberries and then finished off with a sprinkling of almond flakes. John Duxbury
• I like the rustic nature of the pastry which uses rolled oats, but you can substitute a traditional shortcrust pastry if you prefer.
• If you can’t find any sweet red gooseberries you can use any other variety, but you might need to add more sugar to taste and cook them for longer.
|3 tbsp*||(3½ tbsp)*||caster (superfine) sugar|
|60 g||(½ cup)||plain (all-purpose) flour|
|100 g||(1 cup)||rolled oats or porridge oats|
|100 g||(1 stick)||butter|
*Don't mix the units!
|400 g||(1 lb)||cooking gooseberries, such as Invicta or Careless|
|90 g||(½ cup)||sugar*|
|90 g||(½ cup)||light brown Muscovado sugar|
|400 g||(1 lb)||sweet red gooseberries, such as Xenia|
|15 g||(½ oz)||almond flakes|
*If the gooseberries are green and unripe there is enough pectin in them to use ordinary sugar, but if they are ripe use jam sugar or add a teaspoon of lemon juice to avoid the mixture being too runny.
1. Mix the sugar, flour, rolled oats and butter for the pastry in a food processor until it forms fine breadcrumbs.
2. Add the egg yolk and process for 20-30 seconds until the pastry clings together. Remove the pastry from the machine and lightly gather it together to form a smooth ball. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
3. Top and tail the cooking gooseberries, rinse and add to a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil, stirring gently until the gooseberries burst.
4. Add the sugars and let the fruit boil until most of the liquid has gone and the mixture looks jammy. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
5. Turn off the heat and add the red gooseberries (top and tailed if you want), give the mixture a stir and leave to cool.
6. Press the pastry out into a tart tin with a removable base, such as a 35 x 12 cm (14” x 5”) tin. (I find it easier to roll the pastry out even though it is too crumbly to transfer to the tin in one piece.) Leave to rest again in the fridge for 30 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas 6, fan 180°C).
8. Spoon the gooseberry mixture into the pastry case, top with flaked almonds and bake for 25-30 minutes until the almonds are golden brown.
9. Serve warm with fläderblomsglass (elderflower ice cream) or cold with whipped cream. Garnish with some nice sweet uncooked gooseberries if desired.
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