English Gooseberry Creams with Elderflower and Gooseberry Compote
I hadn’t fully appreciated the Englishness of gooseberries until I met a very snooty publisher in New York, who did not want to publish my Summer Collection.
‘What’, she said staring up at me after a bored flip through the pages, ‘on earth are gooseberries? What ours are this week are young, firm, very green berries busting with fragrant flavour. Right on cue are the elderflowers as well, which used to be tied in muslin and cooked in with the gooseberries. Now that we can buy elderflower cordial it’s all much simpler. Together they give you as good a taste of an English summer as you will get, and this recipe is cool, light and perfect for serving in hot weather.
This recipe is from A Year in My Kitchen Serves 4
Start off by topping and tailing the gooseberries, using a pair of scissors, then arrange them in a shallow baking dish.
Sprinkle them with the sugar and pour in the elderflower cordial mixed with 1 tablespoon of water. Now bake (uncovered) in the oven for 25-30 minutes. After that you need to puree a quarter of the cooked gooseberries, leaving the rest on one side. Next place the leaves of gelatine in a bowl and cover with cold water, then leave them for about 5 minutes till softened. Meanwhile heat the milk gently in a saucepan, then squeeze the leaf gelatine with your hands to remove any excess water, and add it to the hot milk. Give it all a thorough whisking till it dissolves. Now in a measuring jug measure out 8 fl oz (225ml) of the puree (any left over can be added to the rest of the gooseberries). Add the gelatine mixture followed by the fromage frais, and whisk everything together.
Divide the mixture between the four pots, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge till set. Let the rest of the gooseberries cool, then cover them and chill till needed.
Serve with the creams unmoulded on serving dishes with the gooseberries poured over.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4