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(serves 4)

Gooseberries are one of the first soft fruits to come into season, with the small, green variety ripening in May followed by sweet dessert varieties including deep red varieties in June and early July.

This is a take on the classic strawberry dessert Eton Mess. The recipe is particularly suited to the early, tart variety. For speed, use ready-bought meringue nests.

1. Wash the gooseberries and top and tail them.

2. Place the water and sugar in a saucepan and add the gooseberries.

3. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.

4. Remove the lid, lift out about a third of the gooseberries and cook remaining fruit over medium heat, stirring until it is thick enough not to run when a spoon is drawn across the bottom of the saucepan. It should take about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

5. When ready to assemble, whip the cream to soft peaks.

6. Break the meringues into rough pieces, place them in a large mixing bowl, fold in the whole gooseberries then gently fold in the cream.

7. Add the puréed gooseberries and give a few turns to mix in.

8. Spoon into one large bowl or individual glasses and serve immediately. If you have access to elderflowers, decorate with a few bunches of fresh flowers.

Recipe provided by


150g/9 oz gooseberries, green or dark red

2 tablespoons concentrated Elderflower cordial

110g/4 oz caster sugar

275ml/9fl oz whipping cream

Meringue nests

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