Gooseberry fool

There are a few versions of this quintessentially English dessert knocking about. This recipe is a cheats delight: ready-made custard means you can whip it up in minutes without compromising on flavour.

Don’t be tempted to add extra sugar – it’s delicious exactly because of the contrast between the sharp gooseberries and creamy custard. If you use red dessert gooseberries, reduce the sugar a little as the fruit is already quite sweet.

This can be eaten straight away. However if you give it a few hours in the fridge, it sets a little into a pleasant consistency.

This recipe was first published in BBC Good Food Magazine back in 2004, and has stood the test of time, still filed in Aunty Anne’s trusty recipe folder of classic puds.


  • 450g gooseberries, topped, tailed and rinsed
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 400ml good quality ready-made custard
  • 142ml whipping cream, whipped into soft peaks
  • delicate dessert biscuits, such as Langue de Chat
  • optional garnish: flaked almonds, sprig of fresh mint


  1. Tip the gooseberries into a wide bottomed pan, with the sugar and 1 tbsp water. Stir over over a low heat, and shake the pan as the sugar melts and the juices from the fruit begin to run.
  2. As soon as the gooseberries have turned paler (3-4 mins), turn off the heat, cover, and leave for 10 mins so the fruit continues to soften in its own heat.
  3. Leave the gooseberries to cool completely, drain the juices, then crush the fruit with a potato masher.
  4. Pour the custard into a bowl, fold in the whipped cream, then gently stir through the crushed berries.
  5. Spoon into serving glasses, garnish if using, and serve with dessert biscuits.

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