G is for Gooseberry Pie

Gooseberry Pie, I hear you all say, what’s so difficult or different about that?!  I would have probably said the same thing, had I been reading this too.  The difference is the pastry.  I’ve been wanting to make ‘hot water pastry’ for some time now, but most of you will know that I’m a ‘sweet’ baker (in more ways than one I hope), in that I enjoy baking sweet things and not savoury dishes.  I do bake savoury dishes, but I don’t get the enjoyment out of baking these, as I do with sweet dishes.

Also, about six weeks ago, whilst tweeting, a couple of my twitter friends and I decided we would set ourselves a ‘hot water pastry’ challenge as we all had never made ‘hot water pastry’.  I have hunted high and low for a recipe to make and I did come across a lovely chicken and leek pie to make, but the evening I was going to make it, most of my family ended up with other things to do, so I cancelled making it for just myself and my husband.  I think I’m probably the last one to make this pastry, so when I came across this recipe I was so excited as I knew these pies would keep for a day or so if necessary.

If you would like to read how Rachel got on with her hot water crust pork pies, click here.  I think they looked amazing and I’m sure they tasted great too.

This recipe comes from Paul Hollywood’s book British Baking.  The pies originate from Oldbury in Gloucestershire and as I still have bags and bags full of gooseberries in my freezer from last year, I thought this would be a way to use some of them up!


  • 360g Plain Flour
  • 80g Strong Bread Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Icing Sugar
  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • 80g Lard
  • 160ml Water
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten to glaze


  • 450g gooseberries
  • 85g Caster Sugar
  • 85g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 6 tsp Semolina


  1. To make the pastry, mix together the plain flour, strong bread flour and icing sugar in a bowl.  Rub in the butter gently with your fingertips.
  2. Put the water and lard in a small saucepan and heat gently until the lard has melted.  Allow the liquid to come to the boil and pour into the flour mixture.  Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.  At this point get your hands in and bring the pastry together into a ball.
  3. Turn out onto a floured work-surface and knead until the pastry is smooth.
  4. Cut one-quarter of the dough off and wrap in clingfilm.  Divide the remaining dough  into six pieces.  Wrap five of them up in clingfilm.
  5. Roll one piece of dough out into a circle.  This was lovely pastry to roll out, didn’t stick at all. Place a plate (approximately 18cm diameter) over the pastry and cut around it to make a circle.  Put this to one side and do the same with the remaining five pieces of dough.  It’s only now, whilst typing this up, that I see I used a plate that was 16cm in diameter and I thought the pastry was extremely thin.  Also, if I make this again, I will do each pie individually, as the pastry does tend to cool down very quickly.  Whilst it is wrapped in the clingfilm it is fine, but as soon as it is rolled and left out, it begins to cool and dry.
  6. Next, the book states to gather up the edges of each circle to create the walls of the pie by pinching little pleats around the edge.  They should stand about 2-3 cm high.  I tried and tried to do this, but the pastry was so thin that it wouldn’t stand up.  I bodged the way around my first pie and for the others I placed the pastry into a small bowl, which made it a lot easier as I could crimp them together once the lid had been put on.IMG_2391
  7. Once you  have your ‘pie shape’, sprinkle 1 tsp semolina in the base of each pie and then fill with gooseberries.  Another thing, I think I had wrong is that I should have thawed my gooseberries out first because as soon as I put them into the pie base, the temperature of them chilled the pastry down almost instantly.  Not good!  IMG_2390
  8. In a bowl mix together the caster and soft brown sugar and combine.  Sprinkle this over the top of the gooseberries.  i had quite a lot of sugar left over at the end, even though I sprinkled 4 teaspoons of sugar over each of the gooseberry pies.  I couldn’t really fit any more sugar in them.
  9. Using the quarter of dough you have put to one side, divide this into six and either roll them to make a lid for the pies. I actually used my fingers to press them into shape.  Place the pastry discs on top of the gooseberries and pinch the edges together to seal.  I did have to use a few of the bits I had cut off when cutting out the circles to patch a few cracks up, as my pastry had dried out quite significantly.  However, i was pleased to see that they did stand up on their own once out of the bowl.  A slit was made in the top of each pie to let the steam out.IMG_2392
  10. Pop the pies onto a baking tray and refrigerate them for a couple of hours or overnight to allow them to firm up, so that they hold their shape when baking.
  11. Preheat the oven to 180C (Fan 160C), Gas 6.
  12. Before putting in the oven brush the pies with the beaten egg and bake for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.  Serve hot or cold with cream or custard.

The verdict – they were very, very rustic looking and had leaked quite a lot of juice when baked.  I think fresh gooseberries would have been better.  However, even though they didn’t look very amazing, they tasted really good.  The pastry was lovely.  I’ll definitely be making this pastry again and who knows maybe next time it will be a savoury recipe!



2 thoughts on “G is for Gooseberry Pie

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