A very strange thing happened to me last week. I discovered a fruit I have never seen or heard of before at my local greengrocer's. After returning home with the fruit, I then had a little surf on my fellow Blogger's sites. And there on Celia's brilliant Purple Podded Peas was this fruit I had never heard of. What a coincidence. They say that all good things come in threes, so I am fully expecting to get pelted with this fruit at some point this week from the children at one of my food presentations.
The fruit I am talking about is the red gooseberry, or as Celia says, the Whinhams Industry or red dessert gooseberry. Quite how I have never heard of them is a strange one. I love gooseberries, but the ones that I am used to and use in abundance are the green variety that often need sweetening up due to their sour nature. These little beauties need little sugar; they are sweet as can be and perfect for a bit of dessert experimentation.
I decided against the ubiquitous gooseberry crumble. As delightful as it is, I wanted something even more simple, especially as I'm now getting my daughter involved so much. I opted instead for an upside down pudding of sorts. What I'm starting to do with Cerys these days is give her a few sensible choices for the recipe I'm about to experiment with. As she demands to be on the bench when I cook these days, it is only fair to give her a bit of autonomy.
So on her list of random but acceptable choices were walnuts which were gratefully bashed to submission in a plastic bag with her mini rolling pin. These were folded into a simple sponge mixture with the tiniest pinches of ground ginger. Topped and tailed, the gooseberries were softened a little in soft brown sugar. I had to do this quickly as the delicious fruits appeared to be disappearing at a fast rate down my little helper's neck. All that was left was the fruit to be arranged in a buttered dish and the sponge mixture poured over the top and baked off in a moderate oven.
We ate this pudding with vanilla ice cream, and as the ice cream melted around the still warm pudding I glanced over at my daughter as she demolished her well earned slice. I praised her on her fantastic pud, and I was awarded with a sticky cuddle and kiss. I have a little Delia in the making methinks. Hats off to the red dessert gooseberry and unknown pleasures.
Red Gooseberry and Walnut Pudding
1 small punnet of red gooseberries (green will do but may need a little more sugar), topped and tailed
50g soft brown sugar
100g plain flour
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
50g walnuts, pounded to small crumbs
A good pinch of ground ginger
1 - Pre-heat the oven to GM4, 180 degrees C.
2 - In a small pan, melt the sugar and add the gooseberries. Cook until they have softened then remove from the heat.
3 - In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, then fold in the flour, walnuts and ground ginger. If the mixture is too stiff, beat in a little milk until it falls off a spoon without shaking.
4 - Pour the fruit into a buttered baking dish (I used a square cake tin). Pour over the sponge mixture and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the sponge has risen and turned golden brown.
5 - Allow to cool slightly, then turn out onto a plate and serve in generous slices with ice cream.