Makes 2-3 cups syrup
Tip: I find that gooseberries and rhubarb can be used interchangably in recipes. I’ve had great success subbing in baked goods, so I decided to experiment with a rhubarb syrup recipe discovered several years ago. After a couple of tries and a little tweaking, this is the result. I am very fortunate that my mother-in-law generously shares an abundance of gooseberries and I appreciate every berry I use (a toast to you, Dorothy, with a glass of gooseberry lemonade)! I know not everyone has access to these deliciously tart berries, so try this recipe with rhubarb, or even tart cherries or fresh cranberries. And don’t hesitate to make an “adult beverage” out of this by adding a shot of vodka or gin to the drink listed below or just use sparkling wine in place of the sparkling water! Cheers to all on a hot summer day. 🌞🍹
1 cup superfine sugar (white granulated can be used if superfine not available)
1 cup water
3 large lemons
2½ to 3 cups fresh or frozen gooseberries
Optional: 6-10 fresh or frozen raspberries (add for color)
Optional: 1-2 drops red gel food color
Sparkling water and ice (to serve)
Wash and dry lemons. Remove zest from the lemons in large strips; reserve.
Squeeze and reserve juice from the 3 lemons.
Top, tail and thoroughly rinse the gooseberries.
Lightly rinse the raspberries (if using).
In a large pan over low heat, gently melt the 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water until sugar is completely dissolved.
Add the zest, about 2/3 of the lemon juice, gooseberries and raspberries to the pan; simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the gooseberries are very soft. (It’s a little tedious, but worth it to remove most of the lemon rind* before continuing the recipe.) Mash berries with a potato masher or blend roughly with an immersion blender. Stir in remaining lemon juice and 1-2 drops of red gel food color, if using; leave puree to cool. Strain through a sieve, pressing the flesh well to extract the juices. Chill the syrup thoroughly. Store covered in refrigerator for up to one month. It can be frozen several months for future use; thaw in refrigerator before using.
To serve, spoon about 4 Tbsp of the lemonade syrup into a pretty serving glass. Top with ½ cup of sparkling water, add several ice cubes and garnish of choice. Adjust syrup and sparkling water ratio to your own taste.
*Lemon rind will be nicely candied from simmering in the syrup. Don’t discard this tasty treat! As you remove it from the syrup, separate the pieces on a piece of parchment or a metal cooling rack. They will be translucent and the texture of very thin fruit leather. This is an optional garnish for your beverage or it can be finely chopped and added to baked goods.
My dad LOVED gooseberry pie. But, never got any once he married my mom and left the “family farm.” I made a rhubarb custard pie yesterday. Bob said I needed to peel it. I did, I think I peeled off the sour. Hmmmm. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, I think the sugar needs to be in the egg, not just on the rhubarb or physically stir the two together before putting in pie crust.
Interesting…I’ve never peeled rhubarb so not sure if that would remove the tartness. I’ve always just washed it and diced it into smallish pieces for a pie recipe (rough cut it if I’m making jam or sauce for ice cream). Marty’s mom has made Gooseberry or Rhubarb Custard Pie using the recipe that follows. It’s always been delicious…if you’re interested, see how it compares to the recipe you have.
Gooseberry (or Rhubarb) Custard Pie (9 inch pie)
Beat slightly by hand with a whisk:
3 Tbsp whole milk
Mix together and stir in:
2 cups sugar
4 T flour
3/4 t nutmeg
Mix in 4 C gooseberries – thawed, if frozen
Pour into single crust (unbaked) and dot filling with 1 Tbsp butter
Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375°F and continue baking for 30-45 minutes.
Carol’s Note: I have had to experiment with temperatures & baking times for this pie.