How to make gooseberry and ginger custard tart

Melanie Johnson shares her recipe.

Tart and often overlooked, bristly little gooseberries deserve a place on your summer table, says Melanie Johnson, our kitchen garden cook.

Using them in a sorbet is a surprisingly simple — and delicious — way to enjoy these seasonal fruits.

Add 900g of gooseberries to a saucepan with five tablespoonfuls of elderflower cordial and 400g of granulated sugar, then pour over 500ml of cold water and bring to a simmer, cooking until the gooseberries are bursting.

Remove the gooseberries with a slotted spoon to a blender and boil the remaining liquid until it has become syrupy and sticky between your fingers. Add the sugar syrup to the blender and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe dish and freeze until firm. Blend again to break up the crystals, return to the container and freeze again, after which it will be ready to serve.

And if you’re looking for something special to go alongside that sorbet? The gooseberry tart recipe below is ideal.

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Recipe: Gooseberry and ginger custard tart with gooseberry and elderflower sorbet


  • 1 sheet all-butter puff pastry or a 500g block
  • 1tbspn icing sugar
  • 1tbspn ground ginger
  • 400g gooseberries
  • 200ml double cream
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 1tspn vanilla-bean paste
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2tbspn plain flour
  • 1tbspn cornflour
  • 3tbspn preserved ginger syrup (from a jar)


Preheat your oven to 180˚C fan/200˚C/400˚F/gas mark 6 and make sure an oven tray is already in there heating up — this recipe requires heat from underneath, because no one likes a soggy bottom. Add a disc of baking parchment to the bottom of a 25cm (8in) loose-bottomed tart tin.

Roll out the puff pastry to the thickness of a pound coin and cut to a circle that will fit into your tart tin with a decent overhang. Sprinkle over the icing sugar and ginger, rubbing it in slightly with your fingertips to spread it out evenly. Place in the prepared tin.

Top and tail the gooseberries and scatter them in the tart tin. Set aside.

Heat the double cream, milk and vanilla in a saucepan until almost boiling. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, plain flour and cornflour. Pour the hot cream over, whisking continuously, and then return to a clean saucepan. Place over a medium heat and keep stirring until thickened. Lower the heat if you feel it’s sticking at the bottom of the pan. Stir through the ginger syrup and then pour over the gooseberries in the tart tin.

Bake the tart for 30–40 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Finally, serve the tart with the elderflower sorbet (as above) or ice cream of your choice.