When I’m driving through country lanes in late May or early June and I spy the elderflower coming into blossom, I know it’s time to go and search on gooseberry bushes for the hard, green fruit, far too under-ripe at that stage to eat raw, but wonderful cooked in tarts or fools or in this delicious compôte. Elder-flowers have an extraordinary affinity with green gooseberries and by a happy arrangement of nature they are both in season at the same time.
First top and tail the gooseberries. Tie the elderflower heads in a little square of muslin, put in a stainless steel or enamelled saucepan, add the sugar and cold water. Bring slowly to the boil and continue to boil for 2 minutes. Add the gooseberries and simmer just until the fruit bursts. Allow to get cold. Serve in a pretty bowl and decorate with fresh elderflowers.
© 2001 Darina Allen. All rights reserved.