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In late summer the farmers markets can display some oddities for us. Like gooseberries. Native to Europe and Western Asia, gooseberries have a small but happy following in the United States. They are immensely popular in Great Britain and this recipe comes from the BBC food website and magazine.

In Britain, gooseberries appear in jams, jellies, pies and more. They are abundantly used. Tart to be sure, the berries are less sweetened by the Brits than would an American with a sweet tooth. Just follow the recipe here, please, and be faithfully authentic. The flavor will be bright

This recipe is a happy blend of familiar meringue with a gooseberry compote. Make a brown sugar meringue base, top with whipped cream, and spread with a gooseberry compote — a mixture of berries, sugar, and lemon juice.  “Compote” is one of those lovely, slightly Victorian words that we should adopt into our vocabulary and culinary portfolio.

Oh, why the name? Are gooseberries named for the bird? Maybe, probably not. No one knows. In fact, it is not clear if gooseberries are native to Great Britain or came over from France. But they are grown and beloved there. They should be here, too.

Oh, this British recipe does a very contemporary thing: both English and metric measurements are intermingled. 300ml of something is 1.25 cups.

Brown Sugar Meringues with Gooseberry Compote & Cream

Yield: serves 8 to 12


For the final assembly:

  • 300ml pot double cream

For the meringues;

  • 4 large egg whites
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 50g toasted chopped hazelnuts

For the compote:

  • 400g gooseberries, topped and tailed
  • 6 tablespoons golden caster sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon


Line a large baking sheet with parchment and heat oven to 140° C. For the meringues, put the egg whites and lemon juice in a large clean bowl (metal or ceramic is best) and whisk with hand beaters until the whites stand in stiff peaks, but are not at all dry or fluffy around the edges.

Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and whisk again until the whites return to stiff. Repeat until all the sugar has been used and the meringue is thick and glossy. Sprinkle in the hazelnuts; don’t stir.

Spoon 8 blobs of the meringue onto the lined baking sheet, aiming for something roughly egg- or rugby ball-shaped. As you push the meringue off the spoon, the hazelnut will ripple its way through the mixture. Make a small dip in the top of each meringue, ready to hold the cream and fruit later. Bake for 1¼ hours or until pale golden and crisp. Leave to cool in the oven with the door ajar.

For the compote, gently heat everything together in a pan until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 3 mins or until the fruit collapses but is still recognizable. Cool. Assemble meringues just before eating: whip the cream and use to top the meringues, then add spoonfuls of compote. Any leftover compote will keep in the fridge for a week or two.

Source: BBC Good Food Magazine 2014

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/60th second at ISO‑3200