Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Recipe: Ernestine Finger's Gooseberry Pie

*Recipe reprinted with permission from the Waynesville United Methodist Church from their Women's Cookbook*
Fresh Gooseberries

One of my goals for Foodigen was to avoid being a recipe dominant blog.  There are so many wonderful bloggers tailoring their recipes to post, and doing them so well-why compete?  In addition, I'm not a recipe-cook.  I started out as a bartender for years before I ever started focusing any attention toward my kitchen-much of my cooking is taking a recipe, cutting corners and adding things to taste.  Needless to say, I don't take notes on what I do either.  

One of my primary sources of information (kitchen and otherwise) is my mom.  I grew up in the kitchen watching her cook, as she zipped around from the spice cabinet to the counter to the stove.  Occasionally, there was a recipe on hand and sometimes she (as dad would tease) would 'experiment'.  My job was less to help and more to keep her company, sitting across the counter at the breakfast bar on my 'princess chair' as we shared stories and ideas.  The kitchen at my parent's house will always be my mother's kitchen and I will always feel as though my place is talking to her from across the counter (which is where she usually wants me anyway).  

This past weekend, as I was settled into my 'princess chair', watching my mother cook an apple pie-sneaking apple slices occasionally, she produced 3 pints of berries: red raspberries, black raspberries and gooseberries she had picked earlier that day.  Gooseberries are not terribly common around here-more indigenous in Europe as they enjoy cooler temperatures and rough terrain, but my mother (of course) got the bush to grow and thrive-although I'm sure the cooler spring has helped.  I've had gooseberries before, they look like tiny, transparent watermelons with little seeds inside and are the size of a small grape-with similar texture and consistency, but they are incredibly tart!  Not something you would be likely to snack on mid-day.  

As my mother was putting the apple pie in the oven, she was fussing at me to stop eating the red raspberries (my favorite) and started talking about what she could do with the gooseberries.  Fairly quickly she produced a very old cookbook that her church put out-I'm guessing in the early 80's.  From the looks of the book with the stains, missing cover and pieces of paper wedged between the pages-this is a favorite resource of hers.  As she was carefully flipping through it-she was talking about how people used to rave about the gooseberry pie Ernestine Finger used to make for events, but mom never had the opportunity to try.  After finding the simple recipe, and mixing together the few ingredients, my mother put the pie together and into the oven to cook.

Gooseberry Pie-construction
After the gooseberry pie was pulled from the oven and cooled, we all dug in-eager and curious.  The tart berries had burst in the oven, leaving a layered flavor to the dessert.  The sour cream was almost undetectable but aided greatly in the creamy texture.  This was a food experience, I beg for: new and amazing.  
Gooseberry Pie-fresh out of the oven

Ms Finger was the grandmother of a classmate of mine and beloved in the community for her gentle nature.  In our little town, so easily forgotten with our city-focused mentality and shortage of amenities, we still take pride in the food of our area and the people who created them.  The legacy of many women in my little town, are their beloved recipes-as so long ago-we didn't travel as far for our entertainment or food and relied on each other to help 'cater' the festivities.  This church cookbook is full of community pride and is as closely tied to the history as a family bloodline.

Ernestine Finger's Gooseberry Pie

1 pt. Fresh or Frozen Gooseberries
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 heaping Tbsp. Flour

Mix sour cream, sugar and flour and pour over raw gooseberries in unbaked 9 in. pie shell.  Bake at 450 degrees (F) for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes longer.  Cool completely before serving.


  1. I love that cookbook and still use it!

  2. I think I need to dig into it a little more-my mom uses it for everything!


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