Gooseberry oat crisp

Gooseberry oat crisp

How to Cook Desserts
Peter Cassidy

Pink dessert gooseberries have a short season, worth making the most of, as they are much sweeter than green gooseberries and their skins are more tender. That said, if they are not available, this recipe works perfectly well with regular, green gooseberries, but you will need to use more sugar to counteract their sourness and acidity – generally twice the amount. Taste the fruit before using, which will help you to adjust the sugar quantity according to personal preference. You will need a 1-litre shallow pie dish.


Quantity Ingredient
50g rolled jumbo oats
4 tablespoons apple juice
50g blanched hazelnuts
40g blanched almonds
100g self-raising flour, plus extra to dust
large pinch ground ginger
large pinch ground cinnamon
large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
pinch salt
50g butter, plus extra to grease
40g demerara sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
1/2 lemon, finely grated zest
1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons clear honey

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
700g pink dessert gooseberries
40g caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
3 tablespoons elderflower cordial


  1. Put the oats in a small bowl. Pour over the apple juice, mix together and set aside to soak. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and almonds.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl with the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the demerara sugar, lemon zest and sunflower seeds.
  3. Add the soaked oats and chopped nuts to the rubbed-in mixture and drizzle over the honey. Mix everything together using your hands.
  4. Wash and then lightly flour your hands. Press the topping together into clumps (about 3–4cm), rather like large pieces of granola. Unevenly shaped, flaky pieces will give a better, crunchier texture to the baked topping than well formed pieces. Place the pieces of topping on a large plate or baking sheet.
  5. Heat the oven to 190°C and grease the pie dish.
  6. Top and tail the gooseberries, then rinse under cold, running water. Place in the pie dish (they should be only 1 or 2 layers deep), sprinkle over the caster sugar and cornflour and stir well. Pour in the elderflower cordial and stir again.
  7. Cover the fruit with the pieces of topping, fairly loosely and irregularly, as this will help the heat to circulate around the dish and will crisp the topping nicely during baking. Sprinkle a little demerara sugar over the surface.
  8. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15–20 minutes, then lower the oven setting to 180°C and continue to cook for a further 10–15 minutes, or until the topping is very crisp, a good golden brown colour and the fruit is hot and bubbling. You may need to cover the dish with foil towards the end of the cooking time, if the topping starts to catch around the edges before the pudding is cooked through. Serve hot or warm.
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