Gooseberry Vanilla Tart


y fiancé has been asking me to make this childhood favourite since we met (nearly 4 years ago). I hear his granny made it for him when he was small and it was ‘the best thing ever’. Without a recipe to follow, I experimented and with pride and confidence and presented it to him at our Friday date night in lockdown with high expectations for my creation. It didn’t quite get the reaction I’d imagined while I slaved away baking blind my pastry…To cut a long disappointing story short, it turns out is was nothing like his Grannies tart. On describing the key differences I quickly pinpointed that his identification of a tart and a cheesecake are apparently the same.

So, while this gooseberry tart tastes lovely, expect a gooseberry-type-cheesecake recipe to follow soon.

NOTE: This custard sauce can essentially be poured over any fruit of choice if you aren’t a gooseberry fan. As long as its not a very wet / soft fruit that will leak moisture into the sauce e.g. raspberries. Replace with something like blueberries, cherries, blackberries or even sliced ripe pears.

  • 125g butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 300g gooseberries
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence OR seeds from 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 large eggs
  • 85g caster sugar
  1. Begin with the pastry. Rub the butter into the flour to form a breadcrumb like mixture or do in a food processor.
  2. Add 1 tbsp cold water and mix with a knife to form a dough (you will probably need more water but add it little by little to prevent it becoming too wet).
  3. Knead lightly on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  4. Grease and line a fluted tart tin with a removable base (25cm diameter and 2.5cm deep tin I used)
  5. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to about 3mm thick into a large round. Lift the pastry onto the rolling pin and drape into the tin.
  6. Press the pastry into the well greased tin and up the sides and prick all over with a fork.
  7. Preheat the oven to 190°C, line with parchment, fill with baking beans and blind bake for about 15-20 minutes and a further 5 minutes without the beans until the case is precooked and golden.
  8. Mix the eggs in a jug and use to brush over the fork pricks. Pop back in the oven for a few minutes to seal those wholes then remove from the oven.
  9. Mix the cream, sugar and vanilla into the eggs in the jug and whisk well.
  10. Scatter the gooseberries onto the pastry base evenly.
  11. Pour the vanilla custard over the top and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden and the custard has set.
  12. Remove from the oven, leave to cool slightly before serving dusted with icing sugar and a large scoop of ice cream or some warm custard.