Attack Of The Alien Grapes (Run For Your Lives, It’s Pie!)

The gooseberry looks like an alien grape and tastes like a sour one. Not that I’m complaining or trash-talking it. Just sayin’, plus it’s fun to say alien grape. Say it three times fast: Alien grape, alien grape, alien grape. See? Fun!

In my non-bacon life I have a job (like an adult!) and work in a small office of less than 20 folks. The beauty of an intimate office is you can celebrate non-existent holidays, random Wednesdays, and everyone’s birthday and start-date anniversary. And so we have a birthday committee, which I am most definitely on. I know. Totally weird that I would love excuses to throw mini-parties during the workday. And who just had a birthday? Mr. El Jeffe himself, the boss man. And the boss man’s favorite dessert? Gooseberry pie.

Tracking down the elusive gooseberries was more of an adventure than expected. While gooseberries will and do grow in Colorado, they seem to only be found in the southern part of the state and their harvesting season is July. But being an intrepid millenial, I used the powerful tubes of the Internets to source fresh gooseberries from the great state of Oregon. The gooseberry pie experiment of 2011 had begun…

I hated pretty much every recipe that I found for gooseberry pie. Several called for nutmeg (?) which seemed an odd compliment to this truly sour berry, especially after tasting it and trying to imagine eating it in a pie. Sorry nutmeg, something sweeter was needed to cut the tart factor.

Gooseberry Pie
–2 pie crusts (I am lazy, I bought the refrigerated kind that you roll out. I can hear my granny clucking her tongue, tsk-tsk…)
–1 pound (4 cups) gooseberries, washed and stems removed
–2 TBSP cornstarch
–1/4 cup warm water
–1 1/2 cups sugar
–1/2 TSP cinnamon
–1/4 cup flour (all purpose)
–2 TBSP vanilla soymilk
–1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Line a pie plate with the first pie crust. Keep in the refrigerator until ready for use.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and the warm water. Whisk or stir with a fork until fully combined. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, one at a time, stirring to mix each time.

In a small saucepan heat the gooseberries over medium-low heat for two minutes. Stir and heat another two minutes before adding in the mixture from the mixing bowl. Stir to combine and remove from heat.

Pour into the pie plate and top with the remaining pie crust. Cut slits in the top for heat to escape and cover the edges of the pie with an aluminum foil border to ensure even baking.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-7 minutes before serving warm.

The above recipe makes one pie but I had extra gooseberries (damn you quantities required for shipping) so I made tartlettes as well. Tartlette in this case just means tiny pie… It worked out great as there was one big pie for the boss man’s office celebration and then I sent a tiny pie home with him to enjoy on his own birthday time. Gooseberry success story!

Dammit Jim, I’m not a doctor…
Time: 75 minutes (30 hands on; 45 bake time)
Serves: 8 slices of pie
Calories:  321 per slice

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