Red Gooseberry Hand Pies with Elderflower Mascarpone Cream


Red gooseberries are the ‘stars of the show’ here.

I have wanted to bake with these ever since receiving Nigella’s ‘The Domestic Goddess’ when first published in 2000 and I read her Red Gooseberry Clafoutis recipe.

Needless to say I have never managed to get my hands on red gooseberries for one reason or another. Firstly the red, or dessert, gooseberry season is fairly short and comes after the green, more familiar, gooseberry season. The red variety is usually, larger, plumper and sweeter than its green counterpart and can be eaten raw. These are perfect for desserts.

redgooseberrypies-1-6When  I saw these in my local Waitrose I immediately bought two punnets. I did indeed make Nigella’s Clafoutis and very deliciously it was too. I had hoped to post it but with a family gathering, there was no time for photos and procrastination, just food consumption.

I therefore ventured back to Waitrose and bought three of the four remaining punnets, unsure of what I would do with them. Anyway, I decided to freeze a lot of them. I see no reason why you can’t do that with much of the wonderful seasonal fruit at the moment, apart from strawberries. It will be great to bake something of summer when the winter days are dark, long and cold. Whilst we are on that tangent, I am conscious that four out of my last five posts focus on fresh fruit. I am just drawn to baking with these at the moment. This season is relatively short and before long, we will be looking forward baking with warming ginger, cinnamon, chocolate and all spice.


Back to the pies. These have been adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. I am a big fan of hers. Huge in fact.

This pastry is very easy to make and requires relatively short chilling times which is a bonus in my eyes. It is light, yet firm enough to hold the fruit. I have adapted the recipe in a few ways, firstly in the quantity. If you are going to go to the effort to make these, you want more than 8 pies, in my opinion. Secondly, I have obviously adjusted the filling to my choice and the sugar content accordingly.


I would also, suggest that these pies freeze quite well. Therefore, only bake the number you need to serve at any one time. It is nice to have a few ’emergency’ bakes lined up in the freezer.


As for the cream, I just felt that the elderflower complimented the gooseberry rather nicely. Together they are a real treat…


Red Gooseberry Hand Pies with Elderflower Mascarpone Cream

Makes 16 pies


    For the Pies
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp. ice cold water
  • 420g plain flour, plus extra for dusting work surfaces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100g granulated sugar, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 220g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 250g red gooseberries, rinsed and halved
  • 3 teaspoons cornflour
  • 1 egg, beaten, for brushing
  • Caster sugar for sprinkling
  • For the cream
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 4 teaspoons elderflower cordial


    For the Pies
  1. Mix together the sour cream, lemon juice and ice cold water and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, mix together the flour, salt and two teaspoons of granulated sugar. Add the chilled butter, preferably cubed and mix until you have a crumb-like consistency.
  3. Beat in the sour cream mixture until combined and the dough comes together.
  4. Divide the dough into four balls and flatten slightly. Wrap in separate food wrap and chill until firm. or approximately 45 minutes.
  5. Have four separate layers of baking parchment to hand. One at a time, take a chilled dough portion and roll onto a flour dusted sheet of baking parchment. Try to aim for a rectangle measuring approximately 15cm x 30cm. Place on a baking tray. Repeat with the other three dough portions and stack the rolled dough one on top of the other. Place the dough laden tray into the fridge for about 15 minutes until it comes firm.
  6. To prepare the filling, rinse the gooseberries and half them. Place them in a bowl and add the 100g of granulated sugar and the cornflour and stir together.
  7. Take the chilled dough sheets and one at a time, with a pastry cutter or sharp knife, vertically divide the dough into four equal portions. Take a large spoonful of gooseberries and place in the middle of the a pie portion. Ensure you sprinkle additional sugar from the bowl to ensure the fruit gets a good covering. Repeat for the other three pies portions. Brush the area around the gooseberries with the beaten egg. Fold the pastry over, so forming a pie, pressing the sides together. Trim the joined edges with a pastry cutter.
  8. With a sharp knife, make a few cuts in the pastry to let the steam escape. Place on a lined baking tray.
  9. Repeat for all the remaining dough and pie portions.
  10. Freeze the hand pies until firm, approximately 45 minutes. Alternatively, remove the quantity you want to bake after 45 minutes. The remaining pies can remain frozen.
  11. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.
  12. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar, as desired.
  13. Bake for approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool. Serve warm or room temperature.
  14. For the cream
  15. Thoroughly mix the mascarpone cheese with the elderflower cordial. Serve with the pies.

Source: Adapted from ‘Martha Stewart Living’ Magazine, July/August 2013


  1. Hello! I’ve been reading your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a
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    • thecontentedbaker says:

      Welcome Nannette! Thank you for your kind words. I am so pleased that you have been following and hope you find some things that you might like to try. Best Wishes 🙂

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