We went to the farm again on Sunday (I know, so, what else is new!) and this time we actually picked something different, gooseberries. We ate lots of them while picking, then came home and enjoyed some more and I finally started searching for recipes. After looking in several cookbooks and searching the internet, I was frustrated with the lack of interesting recipes, then I realized what I thought were simply called gooseberries were actually Cape gooseberries, also known as cerise de terre in Québec and l’amour en cage in France. I loved the French name, l’amour en cage (love in a cage translated to English) is the perfect description for these little berries. The Cape gooseberry is enclosed in a papery husk that protects the fruit; it looks very similar to a tomatillo and in fact the cape gooseberry and tomatoes are related. The fruit ranges in colour from green to bright yellow to orange depending on the ripeness.
Most recipes I found were for jams and pies, I wanted something simpler and lighter, so I decided this was the perfect way to use some of our berries. The berries are sweet and have a buttery aftertaste and pairs extremely well with vanilla. The original recipe uses twice the amount of sugar I used, if you prefer the compote to be sweeter, add more sugar to taste.
- 4 cups Cape gooseberries
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
Husk the Cape gooseberries; put them in a noncorrosive pot along with the sugar and lemon juice. Divide the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape the seeds with a knife and add to the berries along with the vanilla bean. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, lower the heat and continue stirring for about 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Serve with warm or at room temperature with toast, over ice cream, with a dollop of crème fraiche or with shortbread cookies.