Gooseberry Crisp


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About

Oven Temperature 375°F/190°C (400°F/200°C if not using a glass baking dish)

Baking Time 20 to 25 minutes

Gooseberries are related to currants. They are a pale celadon green, turning burgundy as they continue to ripen, and have a globelike shape and papery thin skin. Their uniquely tart flavor is an excellent complement to the sweet and crunchy crumb topping in this crisp.

I’ve adopted my friend Kate Coldrick’s marvelous technique for thickening these juicy berries, a technique she uses to make gooseberry pie with gooseberries from her own bush in Devon, England. By slightly precooking the berries in the sugar, the berries soften and release their juices, making it possible to concentrate the syrup that forms. This intensifies the flavor and offers a beautiful rosy color and luscious texture to the filling, which can also be used for a pie. Conversely, other berry or fruit fillings can be used with this crisp topping (see Notes).

Gooseberries are wild berries available from June through August, depending on the region, at some farmers’ markets and are well worth the search. Once you’ve tasted them, you will look forward to their appearance every summer. Lemon, buttermilk, or vanilla ice cream is a lovely accompaniment.


Gooseberry Filling

sugar cups 8.8 ounces 250 grams
fine sea salt a pinch . .
lemon zest, finely grated 1 tablespoon, loosely packed . 6 grams
lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained (about 2 large lemons) ¼ cup (59 ml) 2.2 ounces 63 grams
gooseberries, stemmed (see Notes) 4 cups 21.2 ounces 600 grams
cornstarch 1 to 2 tablespoons 0.3 to 0.7 ounce 10 to 19 grams
unsalted butter 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) 3 ounces 85 grams

Special Equipment

One 8 inch square baking dish, preferably Pyrex, no preparation needed


Make the Gooseberry Filling

Have ready a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a medium bowl.

In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add the gooseberries and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring often with a silicone spatula. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the gooseberries soften.

Pour the mixture into the strainer and drain the gooseberries well, using the silicone spatula to fold them gently in the strainer. Scrape the juices back into the saucepan and empty the gooseberries into the bowl. (There will be about cups of gooseberries.) Add 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch to the gooseberries and mix until fully incorporated.

Add the butter to the juices and bring them to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring often, until the juices begin to thicken. Lower the heat and continue cooking until they darken to a rosy color and reach a thick, syrupy consistency (1⅓ cups/315 ml/13 ounces/368 grams). Do not let the mixture reach a temperature higher than 260°F/127°C, or reduce to less than the volume given, or the juices will caramelize and brown. If the juices do not become thick enough, remove them from the heat and pour them into a heatproof cup to stop the cooking, and stir the remaining cornstarch into the gooseberries. (Riper berries tend to thicken less than green ones.) Scrape the thickened juices into the gooseberry mixture and gently fold them together until evenly combined. Scrape the mixture into the pan.

Preheat the Oven

Thirty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C (400°F/200°C if not using a Pyrex dish).

Make the Crumb Topping

See recipe.

Apply the Topping

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the gooseberry filling.

Bake the Crisp

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and golden brown and the juices beneath are bubbling thickly around the edges.

Cool the Crisp

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Serve the crisp warm or at room temperature, preferably with a scoop of ice cream slowly melting on top.


Room temperature, lightly covered, 2 days; refrigerated, lightly covered, 3 days; frozen, 6 months.

In this section