I love making tarts and tartlets so when the opportunity to use a less than common ingredient arises I jump on the chance. In this case I found a half kilo of frozen gooseberry puree at the store and my immediate though was that this will make excellent gooseberry curd tarts. This recipe guide will not only show how to make the curd, but also a quick and easy meringue topping if you desire a a showstopper of a dessert.
For this tart recipe I am also going to show you how to make the tartlet shells from scratch. You can use store-bought if you like, but making them at home can be fun and easy as well. Regardless, the real star of the show is the filling. A sweet yet tangy curd made from green gooseberries. However once you get the shell down pat you can use a variety of fillings like lemon curd or creme patisserie with berries!
Making curd is extremely easy, and a great way to fill not just tarts, but as a spread for bread or a topping on cakes. I actually enjoy a little schmear of this gooseberry curd on breakfast biscuits if I am in a rush out the door.
What Are Gooseberries?
If you have not heard the name gooseberry before it is probably because they are not very common, at least outside of Europe. Interestingly enough, the kiwi fruit is sometimes called Chinese Gooseberry, even though it is not a real gooseberry.
Gooseberries are the edible fruit of the ribes uva-crispa plant, a species of flowering shrub. The fruit can be a found in a plethora of colors, like green, red, orange, yellow, white, purple, or black. The European gooseberry is in the same family as currants (see: blackcurrant tart) yet are much bigger when size is compared.
Because gooseberries are often picked before fully ripe they tend to be quite sour or tart (pun intended). Therefore many easy gooseberry recipes are simply jams, compotes, or in this case curd.
How To Make Tart or Tartlet Shells
Since this gooseberry curd tart recipe is for dessert, you will want to use pate sucree as the base. This sweet tart crust is similar to pate brisee, but with a higher sugar content, giving it a more butter cookie feel.
Pate Sucree Ingredients
Fortunately, pate sucree does not require any odd or hard to find ingredients. In fact, I often make tart shells just because I have all the ingredients and figure I will think up a new tart dessert in a day or two. The one thing I recommend, as with all baking recipes, is to correctly follow the weight requirements of each recipe.
- 150 grams Flour – All Purpose flour works well here. If you use cake or bread flour the crust may have unfavorable results.
- 50 grams Sugar – white granulated sugar is best in this recipe.
- 110 grams Butter – Use a quality butter with a higher fat percentage than standard American butter if you can find it. I recommend something above 82% fat (I use 82.5% fat butter for both my sweet and savory tarts).
- 1 large Egg Yolk
- 1 tbsp Milk
- 5 grams Vanilla Powder – if you want to use vanilla extract instead then measure out just a teaspoon.
- 1/4 tsp Salt
How To Make Pate Sucree Dough
Add all your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, vanilla powder, salt) to the bowl of a stand mixer and let combine. You can also do this with a whisk as it all combines pretty easily.
Next add in the butter and let run until you have a crumbly, sandy mixture. If you squeeze the mix together with your fingers it will press together, but will fall apart quickly. You want your butter to be colder than room temperature, but it does not need to be super chilled like many American pie crust recipes.
Finally add in the egg yolk and milk. Run the machine until you have a clumpy, almost cookie-dough consistency mix. In fact, pate sucree does make pretty decent sugar cookies if you wanted to do cut-out shape cookies to decorate with kids.
Remove the pate sucree dough from the mixer and form into a ball. Place in a bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Then place the bowl in the fridge to chill for a couple hours.
Baking Tart or Tartelette Shells
When your dough is sufficiently chilled (cold but not rock hard) remove it from the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten it out to about a third of a centimeter (about 3-4mm).
If you are making a large single tart you will want to make the entire sheet quite uniform with no cracks or lumps. However if you are making tartelettes then you can divide the dough into smaller pieces which are easier to roll out.
Press the dough into your tart or tartelette molds so they are firmly compacted into shape. Then run a thin knife all along the edge to remove excess dough. I like to do this step already on my silicone baking mat so there is little movement. I use these Silikomart Tart Rings which are made of thermoplastic and very easy to use.
Dock (poke holes) into the bottom of the shells, and then line the shells with foil. Fill with pie weights, dry rice, or dry beans. Place the tray into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180C or 356F.
Place the tray in the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes. Then remove the foil and rice and place back in the oven to bake for another 10 minutes. If you see the tart getting too dark earlier in the oven then you can pull them out, that means your dough was likely too thin and is already fully baked.
If you don’t want to use weights, you can freeze the unbaked dough for about 15 minutes, then bake directly for 20-25 minutes on the middle shelf of your oven. I actually prefer the freezing method for large tarts like my chocolate tart since it is so much easier than dealing with weights.
How To Make An Easy Gooseberry Curd
This gooseberry curd recipe is super easy but I do recommend using a kitchen scale so you have precise measurements. And yes, as you can see in the image above I got lazy and used store-bought lemon juice. Although to be fair I also used store-bought gooseberry puree so this recipe was really quite simple.
Gooseberry Curd Ingredients
- 500 grams Gooseberry Puree – You can also use whole fresh gooseberries and just blend them really well. The skins are paper thin and entirely edible so they should break down well in a strong blender.
- 450 grams Sugar
- 125 grams Butter
- 100 ml Lemon Juice – You can use fresh but as this is a cooked recipe I often just use a squeeze bottle as it saves a bunch of time (and mess).
- 5 large Eggs – Beaten.
Gooseberry Curd Recipe Instructions
Place your gooseberry puree (pulp and juice) and lemon juice into a large skillet and set on medium heat. Since gooseberries are quite a watery fruit there is going to be a bit of evaporation we want to achieve by the end so the final gooseberry curd is nice and thick.
When the gooseberry / lemon juice mix has gotten nice and hot add in the sugar and butter. I just dump everything in all at once. Allow the sugar and butter to melt completely into the liquid and continue cooking until the mix has slightly thickened.
The next step is the one that is the most tricky. In a large bowl beat your eggs. Then slowly (SLOWLY) and gently tip some of the hot gooseberry liquid into the eggs while whisking rapidly. If you add too much too fast you will scramble the eggs, so slower is better. Continue trickling the hot liquid into the eggs while whisking until the egg mix has doubled or tripled in volume. Then reincorporate the egg mix back into the pan and whisk everything together. Continue cooking on medium heat until you have a thick and glossy gooseberry curd.
Place your tartlet shells on a board so you can prepare to fill them with the freshly made gooseberry curd.
Making A Gooseberry Curd Tart
Fill the tart shells with the hot gooseberry curd. You can fill it right to the top and give the tarts a little tap on the board to even out the curd. Take care not to crack the tartlet shells as they can be quite fickle. Then place the filled gooseberry tarts into the fridge to set and chill completely.
I like to can/jar the extra gooseberry curd since this recipe makes about 24 tartlets worth and I only opted to make 12. Just disinfect a glass jar, fill it with the curd, twist on the seal and submerge everything in boiling water.
When the mini gooseberry tarts in the fridge have set you can get to work on the meringue. A great easy meringue recipe I use is four egg whites, 100 grams of sugar, and a teaspoon of vinegar. Place the egg whites in your stand mixer and beat on high. Once the eggs get foamy start adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time until you have used everything up. Stop the machine when your whites are at the stiff peaks stage.
Place the freshly whipped meringue into a piping bag with your choice of tip. There will be plenty of leftover meringue so go ahead and use it to make things like meringue cookies or zephyrs.
Pipe the meringue onto your gooseberry tarts in whatever pattern or style you prefer. I used a simple flower nozzle to give the final meringue a nice twist shape. You can place meringue drops over the entire surface, or just do a few like I did so most of the gooseberry curd is visible in the finished tart.
Place the tarts under your broiler or use a torch to gently brown the meringue. In the broiler I would say you only need a couple minutes. The torch is much faster but also gives you a much more uneven brown as can be seen in my aronia tartlets. Both ways can look good though, it all depends on what you are going for.
For these gooseberry curd tarts I decorated with a few sprinkles of gold leaf and an edible flower. Of course, you can decorate with anything you want I’m just pretty basic in my tart decorating abilities.
How To Store These Gooseberry Curd Tart / Tartlets
These gooseberry tarts are best stored in the fridge, especially if you live in a humid area as that moisture in the air will wreck your meringue.
More Tart Recipes You’ll Love
- French Tomato Tart
- Pistachio Frangipane Tart
- Rustic Blueberry Tart
- Ham And Manchego Tarts
- Apple Goat Cheese Tart
- Pear and Blue Cheese Tartlets
Gooseberry Curd Tarts
- 150 grams Flour All Purpose flour works well here. If you use cake or bread flour the crust may have unfavorable results.
- 50 grams Sugar white granulated sugar is best in this recipe.
- 110 grams Butter Use a quality butter with a higher fat percentage than standard American butter if you can find it. I recommend something above 82% fat I use 82.5% fat butter for both my sweet and savory tarts.
- 1 large Egg Yolk
- 1 tbsp Milk
- 5 grams Vanilla Powder if you want to use vanilla extract instead then measure out just a teaspoon.
- 1/4 tsp Salt
Gooseberry Curd Filling
- 500 grams Gooseberry Puree You can also use whole fresh gooseberries and just blend them really well. The skins are paper thin and entirely edible so they should break down well in a strong blender.
- 450 grams Sugar
- 125 grams Butter
- 100 ml Lemon Juice You can use fresh but as this is a cooked recipe I often just use a squeeze bottle as it saves a bunch of time and mess.
- 5 large Egg One whole egg plus four yolks. Beaten.
- 4 Egg Whites These are the leftover egg whites from making the curd.
- 100 grams Sugar
- 1 tsp Vinegar
- Add the flour, salt, sugar, and vanilla powder to the bowl of a stand mixer. Quickly whisk together.
- Add the butter and beat until you have a crumbly, sandy mixture.
- Add the eggs and milk and mix until you have a grainy, sugar cookie style dough. Remove from the mixer and place into the fridge to chill. Note: if your kitchen is very cold you might not need to chill the dough and you can go right on to the next step.
- Roll out your dough to about 1/3cm thickness. Drape it into your tart or tartelette molds on a baking tray and press the dough into the sides so it is evenly shaped. Poke holes on the bottom with a fork. Line the dough with foil and fill with pie weights, dry rice, or dry beans. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180C or 355F
- Place the tray into the oven to bake for 12-14 minutes. Take out and remove the foil/weights. Place back in the oven to bake for another 10 minutes. To avoid using weights you can freeze the unbaked shells for 15 minutes, then bake for 20-25 minutes straight.
- Remove the tray from the oven and let the shells cool in the molds for a few minutes. Then knock them loose and place on a cooling rack until they come to room temperature. Fill with whatever you like and enjoy!
- Place the gooseberry puree and lemon juice in a pan. Turn the heat up to medium and whisk until some of the liquid has reduced.
- Add the sugar and butter and whisk until both have melted/dissolved.
- In a bowl whisk together the four egg yolks and one whole egg. Slowly trickle some of the hot gooseberry liquid into the bowl while whisking non stop. When the volume has doubled or tripled in size you can move the contents back to the pan.
- Continue cooking the gooseberry curd liquid in the pan on medium or medium low heat until the contents have thickened to a curd-like consistency.
- Lay your tart shells out on a board and carefully spoon the curd filling into the shells going right up to the rim. Move the entire board to the fridge to set completely. About 1 hour.
- While the curd is setting you can make the meringue. It only takes a few minutes so don't start it until the curd is very nearly set.
- Add the egg whites to a stand mixer and start beating on high. When the eggs get frothy add the sugar a tablespoon at a time until well incorporated. Then add the vinegar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
- Fill a piping bag with your choice of nozzle. Remove the tartlets from the fridge and pipe over the meringue however you see fit.
- You can brown the meringue under your broiler for a couple minutes, or use a torch. Both do the job, just in different ways. The broiler gives a more even brown and the torch is a bit more unwieldy but both results come out quite nicely. Enjoy!