Gooseberries, a fruit closely related to the currant, are one of those fleeting summer berries rarely found outside their local growing area. We had them growing up in Iowa, bright green and dastardly tart, they would appear for a week or so in early summer and then they were gone. So I was surprised to see a crimson-purple version at our Farmer's market last week.
This violet strain was developed in North Dakota in 1932 in an effort to repopulate the upper-Midwest with the tear-dropped shaped fruit after a ban to grow them was lifted the year before. Similar to its other American counterparts the berries start off green, but then ripen to a rosy purple. They were much sweeter than the ones I remember eating as a kid, more like a tart raspberry than a mouth puckering cranberry.
You can make this pie using the green variety, although you might want to add a 1/4 cup or so more sugar. And I have a confession to make about the pie dough. I like to make it in two batches, I think it is much easier to handle. If you don't have a problem dealing with large amounts of dough, than follow the recipe as written, but if you are a crust-newbie, try cutting the ingredients in half and make it in two batches.
Purple Gooseberry Pie
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup frozen vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup ice water
For the filling:
2 pints gooseberries
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 large egg
For the crust:
1. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir to incorporate. Add shortening and toss until the pieces are coated with flour. Using a dough cutter, cut shortening into the flour until pea-sized pieces form.
2. Add water, a couple tablespoons at a time, and blend into dough by tossing with your fingers (don't knead the dough). Once dough starts coming together, divide into 2 balls then flatten into compact disks. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place on the bottom rack in the oven. Heat oven to 425°F.
For the filling:
1. Rinse gooseberries and remove the stems and hulls. Place in a large bowl and add sugar, tapioca and apple pie spice. Stir to combine.
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 disk of dough into a 11 to 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick), and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Press into plate so the dough is snug against the edge.
2. Give filling one last stir to mix all the ingredients and pour into pie shell, making sure filling is evenly distributed.
3. Roll out remaining disk of dough the same as the first and lay over filling. Pinch the two edges of dough together and trim flush against the lip of the pie plate.
4. Make a decorative edge by pressing the back of a fork along the edge of the dough. With a sharp knife, make a few slits on the top of the pie to let steam escape, or cut out a decorative pattern.
5. Beat egg with a teaspoon of water and brush egg wash over the top of the pie. Sprinkle top with sugar and place on heated baking sheet in the oven. Bake until just starting to turn golden, about 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F. Continue baking until crust is a deep golden brown and filling is bubbling in the middle, about 45 to 50 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool at least 1 hour before serving.