Wow, the things you learn when digging into etymology! Word geeks tell us that the “goose” in “gooseberry”, for example, likely came from France, where they call the little green globes, groseille à maquereau or, “mackerel berries”, because French chefs used to make a sauce of the berries to go with mackerel. A bit more ribald, Molly Oldfield, writing for the London Telegraph says “gooseberry bush” was 19th century slang for pubic hair, which led to the saying “born under a gooseberry bush.” It’s been my impression that the tart little berries are enjoying renewed popularity here in the Midwest. You can now find them in abundance at farmers markets, and they grow well in home gardens. I’ve made jams and jellies of them and this year was the first time I grew my own plants. Since my yield was precious—only about 2 cups of berries, I decided best use would be to sprinkle them over some tarts. Very easy to make, the filling is a simple eggs-cream cheese-sugar blend, poured into a crust, and then dotted with as many gooseberries as you like. It’s a nice for breakfast or brunch, or an afternoon coffee break. If you like this tart, you may also like my apples & almond tart–very similar filling, but with almond rather than vanilla, and some almond meal in the crust.
- Gooseberry Topping
- 2 cups gooseberries, stems and ends removed
- Tart Crusts
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup pure cane sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) extra-chilled salted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 egg yolks (save the whites for the filling)
- 4 Tbsp cream, or whole milk (as needed)
- 1 package cream cheese
- 4 eggs (plus egg whites reserved from the crust)
- 2/3 cup pure cane sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- This recipe makes 2 Tarts. Make crusts: Sift flour, sugar and salt into a large shallow bowl. Cut in chilled butter until pea sized crumbles form. Using your fingertips, lightly breakup the bits until the mixture resembles wet sand. Stir in egg yolks and add cream until mixture gathers up. Spread two overlapping sheets of plastic wrap on to counter; scoop dough onto plastic. Gather into a ball. Cut in half. Flatten each piece of dough into a disk and flatten. Wrap each in plastic and chill in the refrigerator at least an hour and up to 24 hours.
- Make filling: Using an immersion blender, stand blender or food processor, combine all filling ingredients.
- Assemble: Place oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350. Roll out each tart crust; press crusts into two tart pans, trimming and saving any excess crust. Divide filling between the two crusts. Dot the berries over each. Place tarts on rack in oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack. Serve room temperature, or, chilled.