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.