Gooseberries are one of those fruits that we always had growing in our backyard, but that no one else outside our family seemed to know anything about it. To me it seemed that gooseberries to others were like currants to me. They knew of them, but had never had the opportunity to experience them.
It didn’t really hit me how unpopular gooseberries were in our area until I came across them in Brazil. Not the fruit, though, the flavor. We started seeing groselha flavored popsicles and juices. There was even a groselha beer, also a bit of a girlie beer, where they put a shot of groselha syrup in the mug.
Thanks to my trusty translating book I quickly learned that groselha was gooseberry and it was something I’d known most of my life.
My parent’s gooseberry bushes are the red variety and when I was visiting recently I brought a small container back with me. A gooseberry is difficult to describe. Its flavor isn’t very distinct to me, just sweet. The skin and flesh are like that of a commercial grape, but the seeds inside are more like a blueberry. They are very difficult to pick due to the large thorns, but with gloves we managed to get a container full. Taking my mom’s advice we mixed both the purple/red and the ones that were still a little green.
Having the gooseberries to use up gave me an opportunity to try out a new pie crust. I’d wanted to try to make one with only virgin coconut oil for a while. Given the season and that my oil is in the fridge right now to prevent it from being a liquid, using it for the pie was quite the task.
I set the jar in warm water until it softened just a bit and then I had to do some serious digging to get it out and at the right texture. I wanted it to be firm enough to cut, but somewhat soft like butter. After a lot of work, I finely got it the way I wanted it and got working on my pie.
I had planned to make the pie all gooseberry, but I had just a few blackberries and raspberries that were threatening to go bad so I threw those in as well. I knew the berries would be good so the real test was the pie crust.
I’m going to go ahead and claim success. We really liked it. It was nice and flakey with that mild sweetness you get from coconut oil. Any combination of flours would work. I just happened to have white whole wheat and buckwheat around so I gave them a try. This crust is a nice break from an all butter version. It makes for a hearty, whole grain pie.
Gooseberry Pie with a Coconut Oil Crust
Crust: (enough for a 9-inch, two-crust pie)
2 cups white whole wheat flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup virgin coconut oil, cubed (about the texture of cold butter)
½ cup cold water
3 ½ cups gooseberries (or any mixture of berries)
¼ cup raw sugar
1 ½ tbsp white whole wheat flour
1 tsp vanilla
In a bowl, mix the flours and salt. Add the semi-solid coconut oil and blend with a pastry blender until the oil is incorporated with pea-sized pieces.
Slowly add the water a little at a time and mix by hand until a dough is formed. Divide into two equal parts, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap to the appropriate size for your pie pan.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the berries and toss with the flour and sugar until all the fruit is well coated. Stir in the vanilla.
Place the bottom crust in your pie pan and prick gently with a fork. Add the berry mixture. Cover with the top crust and cut slits in the top for baking. Sprinkle the top with about a teaspoon of raw sugar if desired.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The crust should begin to brown and be firm and the berries should be bubbly. Remove, let sit for about 10 minutes and serve or allow to cool to room temperature. Serves 8.
This post is a bit of a two-part because I have another fun recipe to share with you. My friend Jada, who is going on 10, developed a newfound interest in all things Abraham Lincoln this past school year. So this summer, Jada did a great presentation all about his life and included Abe Lincoln’s favorite cake. She consulted me, the food blogger, to find out if I thought the recipe was as good as she did. Oh, yes it is.
Jada made the cake with her family this week and her mom brought me some to work. I promised to photograph it and share this beautiful, and mighty tasty, cake with you. So here you go, and if you are interested in the recipe, quite a few bloggers have featured it. Obama Foodorama and Frugal Housekeeping are two of them. Thanks, Jada!