Patchwork strawberry & gooseberry pie

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When we moved into our house (nearly 8 years ago now – how time flies!) we were lucky to not only inherit some very fruitful raspberry canes but a gooseberry bush as well. We’ve not always had the best of luck with it due to some pesky caterpillars but this year seems to have given us a bumper crop. My little ladies have enjoyed helping to pick them (and there are still more to come) so I thought it was time to make something with them before they sat in the fridge for much longer. I’ve made a couple of gooseberry based bakes before such as a gooseberry crumble cake and a Victoria sponge with gooseberry compote but this time I decided to try something a little different. I remembered spotting this recipe for a strawberry and gooseberry pie in a BBC Good Food magazine many years ago and decided now was the time to try it out. We had hoped to pop down to our local pick your own farm to pick some local strawberries to use in it but unfortunately the weather has not been on our side this weekend. Fingers crossed it will brighten up soon and start to feel a bit more like summer.

Normally I’m not a fan of making or working with pastry but actually this pastry is pretty forgiving and even I managed to produce some edible pastry (it even got the seal of approval from my girls!) This isn’t a pie you can rustle up quickly. It does require quite a bit of chilling and baking time so make sure you factor that into your plans. You will need a 23cm fluted tart tin (ideally with a removable base). I would definitely recommend serving it with the leftover syrup as the gooseberries are quite tart and the syrup helps to sweeten it.

Ingredients:
For the pastry
1 large egg (at room temperature, separated)
225g unsalted butter (soft but not greasy)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
350g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)

For the filling
500g ripe strawberry (halved, or quartered if large)
500g gooseberry (washed, topped and tailed)
100g golden caster sugar, plus extra 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons semolina or ground almonds

Method:
1) Put the egg yolk, butter, vanilla, sugar and salt in a food processor, and pulse until creamy and soft. Add the flour and pulse until the mixture comes together in clumps (try not to overwork it).

2) Tip onto a lightly floured surface and squish the dough together. Split it into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other, then shape into smooth discs. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the berries and sugar in a wide pan and cook for 5 minutes until syrupy and the gooseberries are soft but not bursting. Drain in a colander over a bowl and leave to cool (reserve the leftover syrup for later). Mix together the cinnamon and extra sugar, and set aside.

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4) Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line a 23cm fluted tart tin with the larger piece of pastry. As this pastry is quite short, it’s easier to roll out between 2 sheets of baking parchment. Roll out to 3mm thick, remove the top sheet of paper, flip the pastry over your rolling pin and use it to help lift the pastry over the tin. Prick the base several times with a fork, chill until firm, then line with foil and fill with baking beans. Bake on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the bottom of the pastry is golden and feels sandy. Roll the second pastry disc to roughly the size of the tart and cut into 5cm squares.

5) Scatter the semolina or almonds over the pastry base (this will help to prevent a soggy bottom). Top with the fruit and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the syrup. Space the pastry squares over the tart, brush with egg white, then scatter the pie with most of the reserved cinnamon sugar. Wrap only the edge of the pie with a collar of foil to protect it from overcooking, then bake for 30 minutes until golden and crisp.

6)To serve scatter with more spiced sugar and serve warm with thick cream and the fruity pink syrup in a jug for pouring.

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