The Best of British blogging challenge, which is sponsored by New World Appliances, has been running for a few months but I haven’t managed to enter before now. This month it features the beautiful county of Yorkshire and I can’t resist that. The details of the challenge can be found on The Face of New World Appliances and this month it’s hosted by Karen from Lavender & Lovage.
Now Yorkshire could mean rhubarb, Yorkshire pudding, Old Peculier, curd tart or a slice of fruit cake with a piece of Wensleydale cheese amongst many other fine things. On the other hand, you might not immediately associate gooseberries with Yorkshire. In fact, there’s a long and very proud tradition of growing gooseberries in that county. The finest symbol of that tradition is the Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show, which is now over 200 years old and can boast that one of its competitors broke the world record for the heaviest gooseberry back in 2009 with a 62 g berry.
This recipe doesn’t require world record sized berries. It’s a very old-fashioned pudding that’s based, albeit loosely, on an Eliza Acton recipe from 1845. Actually, in some form or other, the dish is probably a fair bit older than that. It’s not the most attractive looking pudding but it is seriously full of flavour.
This should serve four unless you have the appetite of a particularly aggressive fast bowler from Yorkshire.
300 g gooseberries
A generous squeeze of lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla extract or paste
60 g caster sugar
30 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
55 g amaretti biscuits (the crunchy ones rather than the soft kind)
Wash the gooseberries and place in a saucepan with a small splash of water, cover and place on a gentle heat. Cook the gooseberries, stirring regularly, until they fall apart. Work the gooseberry pulp through a fine sieve while still warm. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.
Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves and then do the same with the butter. If the gooseberry mixture has cooled too much to allow the sugar to dissolve and the butter to melt, than put it back briefly onto a low heat. Once everything is thoroughly combined, set the mixture aside to cool completely.
Whiz the amaretti biscuits in a processor or bash them in a plastic bag until they’re reduced to quite fine crumbs - although a little variable texture is no bad thing. Whisk the eggs until they’re pale and frothy.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Stir the crushed amaretti and the whisked egg into the cold gooseberry mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into an ovenproof dish (something around 18 cm x 12 cm will do nicely) and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes until the top is a deep golden brown but the pudding still feels a little squidgy to the touch.
You can serve this pudding warm or at room temperature, but I prefer it well chilled and with a little or not so little cream on top.