I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I LOVE GOOSEBERRIES! And their season is always so over-before-you-know-it short. Gah! So it’s imperative to make the most of their tart but sweet, fruity, floral flavour before it disappears for another year.
I was eating one of my baked gooseberry and elderflower custards recently, when I had a sudden bolt of inspiration involving gooseberries and gin. I love gin, too. Especially at this time of year when its crisp, refreshing taste is perfect in a long, cold drink. But I digress. It occurred to me that gooseberries and gin would be a wonderful summery combination, and would make a deliciously grown-up jelly. No children allowed, for obvious reasons.
Once again, I also included some elderflower cordial – there’s a reason people put elderflower with gooseberries all the time. It’s because they taste amazing together 🙂 The berries were lightly poached, then the liquid was ‘jellified’ and enhanced with a good slosh of gin. Yum.
What does it say about our household that there are five kinds of gin in the fridge? And that the cheapo one is Bombay Sapphire? Honestly, it’s not my fault – people keep buying it for me. Actually, I’m not sure that says anything better, come to think of it…
Back to the jellies. I set these with agar, so they’re completely vegan – hurrah! The texture is slightly different from a normal ‘gelatine’ jelly, and agar also produces a slightly cloudy jelly, but I don’t think that’s a problem. If anything, a hazy, soft-focus gooseberry jelly was more the effect I was after than sharply defined fruit in a crystal clear dessert. The latter is too formal, almost. My cloudy gooseberry jelly wafts onto the spoon and meanders down your throat in a cloud of loveliness…
Sounds like I’ve been at the gin again. Oops. This dessert turned out even better than I’d imagined. The softly set gooseberry jelly is sweet and floral with a subtle hint of juniper from the gin. Every other mouthful gets a berry, soft and sharp, cold and refreshing. This was just what I needed at the end of a long, hot day.
Enjoy this before the gooseberries disappear again. Makes 4.
- 200g gooseberries
- 4 tbsp elderflower cordial
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 5g agar flakes (approx. 2 tbsp)
- 50ml gin
- Top and tail the gooseberries and wash well.
- Place in a pan with the elderflower cordial, sugar, and 600ml of boiling water (from the kettle). Bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, just until the fruit is soft and starting to split.
- Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to gently remove the gooseberries and divide them between four dessert dishes.
- Sprinkle the agar flakes over the surface of the liquid and return to the stove. Heat gently without stirring until the liquid is simmering and the agar has started to dissolve. Stir gently and simmer for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the agar flakes are dissolved and the liquid is clear.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in the gin, then pour the liquid jelly over the gooseberries.
- Chill in the fridge overnight or until set. Serve cold.