10 old-fashioned gooseberry pie recipes

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Classic gooseberry pie recipe

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Gooseberry pie: Many ways to make this old-fashioned dessert (1960)

By Hoyt Alden – Sunday News (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) September 4, 1960

I’m happy to report that the gooseberry pie is not extinct. It is still enshrined in the hearts and the private recipe collections of a lot of people.

In answer to our recent plea for a recipe for gooseberry pie, we received no less than 35 letters, all assuring us there is a large army of gooseberry pie lovers still alive in the nation, and most of them enclosing their favorite recipes.

Pink and green gooseberries
Photo by tycoon101/Envato

Some were moved to nostalgia. Like Mrs. A. W. Higgason of Xenia, Illinois. “Gooseberry pie! You take me back at least 60 years,” she wrote. “I have known gooseberries from the time I set the thorny starts, and hoed them for two years, through the Paris-green dusting for the two-toned green looper worms that ate all the leaves.

“The sitting on the rag rug to pick all the berries, the trying in vain to get all the thorns out of my fingers. And the slow stemming job that was worst of all . . . By the time we had stemmed 10 or 15 gallons of berries, with thumb and forefinger throbbing, we could hardly wait to eat the berries until they’d been made into pies in the winter.

“We stewed gooseberries with sugar and poured them over hot soda biscuits. We made preserves and jelly after they had ripened a little.

“We played a game where we tried to see who could put the most berries into his mouth at once. Twenty was my limit, and I was always bested by some other kid who had a larger mouth or a greater resistance to acid.”

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There’s a woman into whose early life gooseberries were inextricably woven. In other words, she knows her gooseberries, and here’s her recipe:

“If you use fresh gooseberries, put two cups of them in cold water and heat through. Drain them. Add a walnut of butter, a pinch of salt, two tablespoons of flour and a cup and a fourth of sugar. Stir until the sugar and flour are moist and the butter in small pieces.

“Pour it in a pie crust, cover with a top crust and bake until the liquid bubbles thickly up through the slits in the top crust and the top is brown.”

Gooseberries growing
Photo by zeffss/Envato

There are two schools of gooseberry pie makers, I gather, those who use fresh gooseberries and those who use canned.

“Fresh are hard to come by,” writes Mrs. Edwin Cox. “so I use canned. It’s my husband’s favorite dessert. I buy canned gooseberries in heavy syrup.

Add about three tablespoons of minute tapioca to the syrup and cook until thick. Remove from the heat and add two tablespoons of butter, then the berries, and pour it into a pastry shell. Add a top crust and bake at 425 degrees for 50 minutes.”

Writes Golda Johnson of Benton, “I admit it’s a pie you don’t see served very much anymore, but it’s my husband’s favorite. I too make it on a hit or miss basis, but it usually turns out delicious. It’s sour enough to make a pig squeal, if you know how sour that is.

“Place pie dough in pan, cover with half a cup or more of sugar. Add berries to cover, add another half cup or more of sugar, dot generously with butter and a sprinkle of salt. Put on top crust, bake in a 450-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and bake 20 minutes longer.”

Mrs. Elmer Guebert, after reading our article, was a little dubious. “But I read through several cookbooks,” she wrote, “and was surprised I couldn’t find a recipe.” Mrs. Guebert finally compromised by adapting a recipe for rhubarb pie to gooseberries.

MORE: A baker’s dozen delightfully delicious vintage pecan pie recipes

Pink gooseberries
Photo by 5PH/Envato

“I just never thought,” wrote Mrs. Leslie Burrow,”that you would ever be stumped for a recipe.”

Shucks. ma’am, I wasn’t really. I just wanted to see how many good cooks there were around who could make a gooseberry pie.

“My mother,” writes Mrs. H. L. Brewer, “always made gooseberry pie cobbler style.” (Mine often did, too.) “But not the kind where pastry is put on the top.

“She lined a long pan with dough — not quite as short as pie dough — and rolled a little thicker. She put in the filling and then flopped the dough over. The corner pieces were the best.” And how.

ALSO TRY: Johnny Appleseed Pie recipe: Vintage-style apple pie made with maple syrup (1972)

Another who remembers gooseberries with both fondness and loathing is Mrs. C. R. Willard of Lebanon, Missouri: “The gooseberry story in my family goes back 75 years. My parents moved to a river farm on the Gasconade. There were wild Ozark gooseberries growing in the river bottom. Mother set out 30 gooseberry bushes in our barn lot.

“By the time I was a small girl, we were picking 100 gallons of berries from the patch each year. Five gills in the family, as well as some of the neighbors were kept busy…

“I still can gooseberries every year… Too bad you’re not close enough to come over for a piece of pie and a cup of coffee.”

Gooseberries
Photo by by Alex9500/Envato

“Gooseberry pie!” writes Elizabeth Schrieber of Clayton, Mo. “Of course. Not thane little gooseberries we used to know and scratch ourselves to death trying to pick, but the big California kind that aren’t as tasty — but beggars can’t be choosers.

“Anyone who can make a fruit pie can make a gooseberry pie, like this:

“Wash and pick the berries, that is, remove the little beard that grows at blossom end and the stem from the other. Line the pie pan with rich pastry and sprinkle it with a thick layer of flour.

“Put in the berries, cover generously with flour and a cup and a half of sugar. Remember, they are very tart. Dot with butter, put on the top crust and bake for an hour at 330 degrees. If you don’t like this, well…”

Mrs. Edwin Hartmann of Normandy, Missouri, sends an old family recipe: Make two nine-inch pie crusts. Clean and wash four cups of gooseberries. On the bottom pie crust, put a tablespoon of flour, a half cup of sugar and a teaspoon of tapioca, mixed together.

Mix the berries with a cup and a fourth of sugar, a teaspoon of tapioca, a pinch of salt, four tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of melted butter. Pour it in the pie shell, put on the top crust, cut slits in it, bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Our meanest correspondent was Mrs. Helen Dobkins of Steelville, Mo. She sent us a recipe from a Farm Journal cookbook, then added at the bottom: “My own special recipe is very yummy. But it’s a secret.”

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Simple old-fashioned gooseberry pie & gooseberry tart recipes (1967)

by Pat Williams – The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) June 21, 1967

Even though these are excellent recipes for gooseberry pies, remember that gooseberries are very scarce. The berries are extremely fragile, and this makes them almost impossible to ship.

As we understand it, some people do grow them in home gardens, and occasionally some local grower may take a chance and sell them at a roadside stand. But they are often hard to find.

Here are two simple recipes, one for gooseberry pie and one for gooseberry tarts.

Classic gooseberry pie recipe

Classic gooseberry pie

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh gooseberries
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pastry for two-crust 9-inch pie
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Instructions

  1. Crush 1/2 cup of gooseberries; combine with sugar, tapioca and salt.
  2. Add the whole berries.
  3. Cook and stir until mixture thickens.
  4. Line 9-inch pie pan with pastry; fill.
  5. Dot with butter.
  6. Adjust top crust.
  7. Bake in very hot oven (450 F degrees) 10 minutes.
  8. Reduce temperature to (350 F degrees) and bake about 30 minutes longer or till crust is done.
  9. Serve slightly warm.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 368Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 189mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 3gSugar: 56gProtein: 2g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

Gooseberries

Gooseberry tarts (1967)

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • Plain pastry
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on sourness of berries)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups green gooseberries
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Roll out slightly more than half the pastry and line 5 individual tart pans; trim off pastry even with pan rim; chill in refrigerator.
  2. Pick over gooseberries, discarding any soft ones and removing stems and tails, then wash.
  3. Combine sugar, flour and salt.
  4. Sprinkle over berries, stirring to distribute.
  5. Turn into unbaked pastry-lined tart pans; dot with butter.
  6. Brush edge of pastry with water.
  7. Cover with rest of pastry rolled slightly thinner than lower crust and gashed to form a design to let steam escape.
  8. Press edges together firmly; trim off 1/3-inch from pan rim turn under and flute.
  9. Bake in a 450 (F) degree oven for 15 minutes or until crust is delicately browned.
  10. Then reduce heat to 350 (F) degree and continue baking 20 to 30 minutes or until berries are tender.

Notes

NOTE: Make gooseberry pie the same way, except roll out the pastry to fit an 8-inch pie pan. This gooseberry pie came from Mrs. Sarah Boim.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 146mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 6gSugar: 32gProtein: 3g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

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Gooseberry pie with warm spices

This gooseberry pie recipe is sprinkled with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg — the basic ingredients for pumpkin spice mix.

Classic gooseberry pie recipe

Old-fashioned gooseberry pie

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This gooseberry dessert recipe is sprinkled with warm spices - cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg

Ingredients

  • 3 cups gooseberries
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves, powdered
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 recipe plain pastry
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

  1. Combine gooseberries, 1 cup sugar, and water, and cook until berries are tender.
  2. Sift remaining sugar, flour, salt and spices together; stir into cooked mixture and cool.
  3. Line pie pan with pastry, pour in filling, and dot with butter.
  4. Cover with top crust and bake in a 450 (F) degree oven 10 minutes
  5. Reduce temperature to 350 (F) degrees and bake 25 minutes longer.
  6. Makes one 9-inch pie. Best eaten when slightly warm.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 1107mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 3gSugar: 51gProtein: 1g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

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