Posted by: lialeendertz | July 19, 2012

Gooseberry knickerbocker glory


‘I always have a glut of gooseberries,’ I announced, swaggeringly. ‘We’ll use gooseberries for the supper club.’ Gooseberries are no apricots (still no fruit, nor even flowers), they are not even strawberries (reluctantly bearing fruit to get quickly munched by a tsunami of slugs). They are easy, dependable and even a little over zealous, and are one of the crops I always get just a little bit sick of by the time they call it a season.

Not so this year. The crop was small. Really very small. I wont take my tart lovelies for granted again. Im inclined to blame This Pants Summer (TM) but do tell me if you’ve had a bumper crop; maybe my old dependables are just getting old and undependable. I think I’d prefer that. It all feels a bit apocalyptic/2012 if even gooseberries can’t cope with a British summer.

But it turns out a gooseberry knickerbocker glory is the perfect thing to do with a smidgeon of gooseberries. The beauty of your gooseberry knickerbocker glory – well, one of the great many beauties of your gooseberry knickerbocker glory – is that the sharp fruit is layered with ice cream, sweeter stuff, crunchy things, and whatever delights you can think of to make it go further and to complement and enhance it. Here’s what went into mine:

Elderflower ice cream


Gooseberry puree, only slightly sweetened

Chantilly cream (double cream whipped with vanilla and icing sugar)

A few sweet, pink, dessert gooseberries, raw

Crystallised and frozen elderflowers

I wont give you recipes or we’ll be here all day, but you get the idea. All of this was made up in advance and spooned, giggling, into the glasses at the last moment. Fun, fun. The sweet pink dessert gooseberries were the clincher: one in the bottom of each glass (like the gobstopper in the base of a Screwball), a layer of chopped ones somewhere in the middle, and one like a cherry on top. We bought a punnet, but if I’m going to be replanting this is where I’ll start. They were delicious.

The only essential here is the correct glass – it must look like it has been nicked from a 1950s diner – and the correct long spoon, for delving into the depths. Other than that this is more a blueprint than a recipe. Knock yourself out, play around: have fun with your gooseberry dearth.

I love the above picture supper club guest Jason Ingram took of me and Juliet delivering them to the table, mainly because – by dint of lucking into in the fuzzy bit near the instagram border – I look a bit like something from a 1950s diner myself. I think I must be whipping up the crowd by going ‘Ooh!’ as I hand them out, and I am planning to go about like that more often as it has done wonders for my cheek bones. JAS has commented elsewhere that Juliet looks like ‘a hot Bavarian barmaid’, so I reckon she’ll be delighted I’ve reposted it too … Ooh…



  1. Our goosegogs have not been brilliant which I do put down to the weather although they are a bit old, like myself. That pud sounds delicious. The crop of dessert goosegogs was looking vaguely reasonable this year (never as good as the bog standard/can’t remember their name/usually brilliant cropper) but they are later to ripen. My disgust was huge when I went to pick them last week to find most had disappeared. I am blaming the olympics for everything at the moment.

    BTW a most excellent & scrummy pud is gooseberry meringue pie; like LMP but better. There is a recipe on the BBC Good Food site.

    • It hadn’t occured to me that it could be down to the Olympics rather than the apocalypse. Excellent news.
      Gooseberry meringue pie was on my list of ‘things to try with my goosberry glut this summer’! Sob…

      • I still have lots of last years glut in the freezer!

  2. It’s a dessert that is hard to live up to, Lia. Although, I’m attempting my first cherry and blackcurrant clafoutis tonight so hopefully it doesn’t disappoint Wellyman. My own gooseberries have performed fairly well, similar to last year but I’m new to growing them so not sure whether my yields are actually that good. Still picking mine which are a pink variety. Not sure what variety, as I inherited them when I took on the plot but they must be a late one. Some of them are still more than a little tart. ‘Hot Bavarian Barmaid’ made me chuckle, give me a gooseberry knickerbocker glory over a stein of beer any day!

    • Defo have to grow one of the pink ones. They were amazing. Very glad you enjoyed it.

  3. I sense a knickerbocker glory-off at some point…..

  4. Brilliant idea – we too have a handful of gooseberries (and rubbish raspberries and currants too, but loads of apples on the way). Glad it’s not just us. Off to find exotic glasses …

  5. Hi Lia,
    Our goosegogs disappeared this year, however Raspberries and Redcurrants a-plenty, just as well, our chicks love them, with all the rain they were the only ones able to get to them!.
    Regards to ‘the hot Bavarian barmaid’ that made made me smile.

  6. Best crop of goosies ever! Great idea for what to do with them! They are very rich. Wouldnt want them everyday but wouldnt miss ’em for the world either.

  7. Hi Lia, there is a very localised gooseberry bonanza in my Dad-in-law’s garden, I picked 3 kg from one bush and there are possibly another 2 kg left. But he does do mystic plant whispering in his mother tongue as evidenced by the fact that he is also the only person I know to have escaped garlic rust this year. The NBGs sound good, I will give them a go.

  8. My mum, on the phone: “something’s eaten all the leaves of my gooseberries”

    Me: “that will be gooseberry sawfly, mum”

    Mum: “Thank heavens, I had no idea I had such a large crop until it was unmasked by the sawfly”

  9. I had the best crop ever this year.
    Not really, mine was rubbish too.

  10. Our gooseberries were epic this year – individually huge and many of them (really sorry – everything else was rubbish). Please give us the recipe… esp the elderflower icecream.

  11. sounds absolutely gorgeous, like wearing your best dress when there’s nothing left to wear. must try this myself…ooh

  12. Mrs A-S does very clever things with single gooseberries and little madeleines. Particularly good idea when there are not very many of them.
    I stick with my description of Juliet in her apron (I also stick with my addendum that she has much fruitier puddings).
    You are going “Ooooooooo..” in a very Carry On sort of way.

  13. Oh gooseberries, gooseberries. I grew three once. Berries, that is, not bushes.

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