Gooseberry Fool

Living thousands of miles from home (in a different hemisphere no less), does have its compensations. Consider the strange pleasure of eating foods one cannot eat back home. Fresh berries are one of those things that defy the insane distances traveled by much of our food. Until I arrived in Europe, I had never tasted a gooseberry. For a long time I’d had a strange obsession with the idea of gooseberry fool from reading the following:

The Bennets do a lot of eating in the film, so Ron [Sutcliffe] the standby props man, asked me what I liked to eat. I told him gooseberry fool was my favorite pudding and he kindly provided it for me. It was so delicious that during the first two takes of the scene I gorged myself. At the other end of the table Alison Steadman [Mrs Bennet] cannily toyed with a couple of grapes. It took two days to shoot this and I shall never be able to eat gooseberry fool again!

Benjamin Law (Mr Bennet), The Making of Pride and Prejudice.

Well, today I ate gooseberry fool. The markets in Stuttgart are fairly flooded, and alongside the glassy green variety I found these plump, wine-coloured gems. There seems to be some debate about the inclusion of custard in gooseberry fool, along with the fruit and cream. I opted for a recipe using only the latter, and claiming to be Elizabethan in origin. The meeting of tartness, sweetness and cream exceeded all my expectations. I could almost imagine myself on the set of Pride and Prejudice, seated at the Bennets’ dinner table. I wonder if they had high chairs?


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10 Responses to “Gooseberry Fool”


  1. 1 Jo July 29, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Ally, that’s so great! A Pride and Prejudice moment! My grandmother used to make Gooseberry jam. It was so delicious! I think my all time favourite jam. I’m guessing Gooseberry Fool is one of those dishes that you only need a little each serve, as per FWDGF. Sounds very yummy. xo

  2. 2 Lil July 29, 2010 at 3:16 am

    What a pleasant post 🙂 I loved reading the quote and thinking about fresh berries! 🙂 I always love a good picture of Rose too. Eoin’s being slightly less sweet right now (loudly protesting day time sleeps from his bedroom).

  3. 3 Arthur July 29, 2010 at 7:06 am

    I did try to grow some for you many years ago Ally. Alas, Camden’s climate and/or clay soil didn’t suit them (nor red currants, raspberries etc) and I gave them up as a lost cause and planted another couple of Grevilleas for the birds!
    How did this recipe compare to the one we tried out in Chipping Campden a few weeks ago?? That one was very nice too.

  4. 4 Lisa McKay July 29, 2010 at 7:59 am

    My Aussi friend Jo sent me the link to your website and I just have to say, “Thanks a lot”. Now I’m sitting in Laos, hungry, with not a gooseberry in sight. :). Great post. Great photos.

  5. 5 kerentravels July 29, 2010 at 8:07 am

    You finally got your gooseberry fool! Nice photos, looks delicious. I am still loving every single strawberry i eat over here!

  6. 6 lesley July 29, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Oh – it was good to read your post – I planted a gooseberry a week ago – well Tyler and I planted it -they were part of my childhood, along with pomegranates, blackberries and mulberries coming out our ears. I wanted the grandchildren to enjoy them so i thought I would have a go – I also planted a coup0le of blues berries, so here’s hoping. Lots of love

  7. 7 Kate July 31, 2010 at 9:40 am

    YUM! Those look really tasty. My gooseberry plant (that you commented about over on my blog) is struggling along, but definitely won’t fruit this year. I think I might have to go to the farmer’s market and get some!

  8. 9 waterrose August 6, 2010 at 2:54 am

    OH, I love gooseberries….but they don’t grow or arrive in Arizona. I grew up in Ohio and they were abundant….another thing I miss!


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A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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