Gooseberry and Elderflower cheesecake

Firstly, I must apologise for not posting this sooner.  I made it last week when the elderflowers were still in bloom, and this may not be the case for some of you in the more southerly reaches of the UK. However, all is not lost as you could replace the flower heads with a couple of dessertspoonfuls of Elderflower Cordial if you really wanted to give it a go, and I recommend that you do.  It has the most delicately perfumed taste, with both the gooseberries and the elderflower complementing one another beautifully.

I have two of my school gate friends to thanks for this recipe.  Firstly S for her gift of a punnet of lovely gooseberries. We have about five gooseberry bushes in the garden but we cannot get rid of the mildew which infects them each year.  We have moved them, sprayed them, but still the berries are marred before they are ready.  I think they will have to be sacrificed.  So her offering is very much appreciated. Secondly, S for his inspiration.  He was telling me how he had picked some gooseberries on his allotment and had used them in a gooseberry and elderflower fool.  He had read comments below the recipe that he had sourced online that a biscuit was needed to complete the dessert and so he had used a digestive crumb base.  I thought this sounded very good indeed.

However, I foolishly put more than a splash of water in the gooseberries when I was stewing them and they had a lot more liquid than could be soaked up by a tub of cream.  Fortunately for me I had a tub of mascarpone skulking in the fridge and so instead of fool, I made a cheesecake.  It is funny how a recipe can develop.

For the biscuit crumb base
200g digestive biscuits (or similar)
100g butter, melted

For the cheescake
500g gooseberries, topped and tailed so that the little brown bits at each end are removed
10 freshly picked elderflower heads (or 2 dessertspoons Elderflower Cordial)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
strip of lemon zest (peeled using a veg peeler)
300ml double cream
250g mascarpone

Method
Whizz the biscuits in a food processor until crumbs or place in a large plastic food bag and bash with a rolling pin.  Add the melted butter and stir until well combined.  Pour the mixture into a 23cm flan dish and press down well with a wooden spoon until level. Place in a fridge.

Gently shake any insects off the elderflower heads and place in a pan with the gooseberries, sugar and lemon peel.  Pour in a splash of water (you really do not need very much). Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and then simmer for about ten minutes until the gooseberries are soft and mushy. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, pushing through with a spoon to get all of the gooseberry goodness. Leave to cool.

Whip the double cream until softly peaked and stir in the mascarpone.  Stir in the gooseberry puree and pour over the biscuit base.  Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.

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20 responses to “Gooseberry and Elderflower cheesecake

  1. gooseberries and elderflower! this cheesecake is very special. I can imagine the combination of sweet berry and subtle floral perfume.
    I would need to make it with the elderflower liqueur–I don’t think they grow well in my area.

  2. I love it how things grow and morph from one person to another. Cheesecake sounds delicious. I keep meaning to try the elderflower and gooseberry combo as I’ve heard how good it is. But only ever seem to have of the ingredients needed. Haven’t had gooseberries since we gave up our allotment a few years ago. We’ve planted a couple of bushes (twigs really) on our new plot but it’s going to take a while.

  3. Gooseberries remind me of my Grandma – she has bushes in her garden and mainly used them for making chutney. I used to have great fun picking them and popping them in my mouth. Sometimes they were pretty tart so I would have the delight of involuntarily skrushing up my face. Have been meaning to make a gooseberry fool this year when I saw some gooseberries in the shop but haven’t managed to get round to it yet. The main problem being that I know Steve and the kids probably wouldn’t eat it. This cheesecake looks gorgeous, though. If there are still gooseberries in the shop next time I go, I will give this a go but I will certainly bookmark it for next year as I think taking this to a summer party would be perfect!

  4. Mrs OC. So glad I was able to inspire you, although suspect you are being over generous in this regard. Particularly as I had run the cheesecake base passed you first.
    My initial delight in discovering I had a gooseberry bush soon turned to fear as I remembered the over-over abundance of gooseberries my father used to grow each year. We used to have crumble at every opportunity and were given stewed gooseberries on our cornflakes every morning. The only positive thing was that it gave us a break from the over-over abundance of rhubarb – again crumbles and stewed on the cornflakes all the time!
    The gooseberry elderflower combination works so well (although mine was with bought cordial) . I will definitely try your cheesecake with the next crop of gooseberries. I might even plant some more bushes – but not too many!
    By the way, did you try pruning the middle of your gooseberry bushes to let more light in to reduce the mildew risk? Maybe that’s one for Mr OC next time I see him at the school gates.

    • Ah the glut of fruit problem. I think my two might be affected by that when they are adults too. You could always donate some of your unwanted fruit to a friend..hint, hint… Yes, you should definitely share any gardening tips with Mr OC, that is his department 😉

  5. It sounds delightful and light and summery. I shall not suggest it to my 16 year old though who was not impressed with the ‘elderflower presse’ drink they served at his end of school prom last night!

  6. cookycaroline

    This sounds very Ballymaloe! We’ve been having gooseberry and elderflower compote. I’m going to make sure I find elderflowers next year. Sweet geranium leaves are also fantastic.

  7. I love the gooseberry and elderflower combo. I bet this didn’t last long before it was all eaten up.

  8. this looks beautiful! wish we’d have elderflowers over here in the states!

  9. Have been making gooseberry and elderflower cheesecake for quite some time at a resaurant in York and has always gone down an absolute treat! Rather than mixing the ingridients alltogether, alternativly make the cheesecake base with marscapone sugar and lemon along with the biscuit base and then pour over a gooseberry compote and a little cream. We also used to serve it with gooseberry icecream which was an absolute treat!

  10. i’ve completely missed out on the elderflowers this year, with the travelling to and fro – as I would loved to have made this splendid cheesecake with the addition of gooseberries. I also wanted to make some elderflower champagne, but my husband won’d allow me to do that for two reasons. 1. we still have some bottles made from 2 years ago in the shed 2. we will be moving home and he doesn’t want us to be lugging unnecessary bottles down 🙁 So maybe next year.
    I hope your well.

  11. I returned to my gooseberry bush to find two huge pigeons sitting on it picking the fruit. They didn’t even seem to be eating it – just picking it then dropping it on the ground. I can’t be sure but I think they were laughing at me!
    Anyway I managed to salvage 300g so I scaled down everything and found a 20cm tin, a little bit thin but not too bad. I can confirm it was delicious so will definitely use your recipe again thanks. I won’t scrap my fool recipe though because that was also delicious but a different beast. The fool is more gooseberryee as it still has the pulp and the seeds for texture and the vanilla in the layers of cream and in the custard gives the flavour balance an added dimension. Your cheesecake is possibly a bit more practical though. Now where’s that recipe for pigeon pie?

  12. This looks delicious. I fantasize much about country living in the UK and at the top of that list is picking wild elderflowers and making cordials. Perhaps one day!

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  14. Mildew on gooseberries just scrapes off. it does not affect the taste of the berry.. Apart from aeration, water the bush well especially if is dry as now. This applies to all fruiting trees, shrubs or plants. prune back the bush, taking out branches that have fruited and then pick off your berries with a glass of Elderflower champagne to hand. Two jobs done at the same time. Same applies to currants. Saves the back….

  15. I am going to make this for a summer lunch party next weekend and serve it with homegrown black currant coulis. Do you think that will work?

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