It’s been an odd sort of summer so far. Not bad-odd at all; it just feels like summer itself has been a bit elusive this year.  Here we are, hurtling towards the dog days of July and no matter how many strawberries or apricots or nectarines I eat, it’s hard to convince myself that it’s anything other than mid-April. I know it’s a cliche to say that every year seems to fly past ever quicker but it’s really, really true.

(NB I may be having some sort of existential crisis prompted by the fact that I’ve just received a calendar invite for my office Christmas lunch).


Every now and then though, there are moments when I think ‘Yes! That’s it! It’s finally arrived! Summer 2014, I am ready for you!’. They’re fleeting moments, for now, but they hold so much promise.

I had resolved to stay away from pastry for a while – I’ve not had much luck with it recently and have spent far too long watching batches of it crack or shrink or melt or just generally misbehave as soon as they go into the oven. I can take a hint.

I’ve no idea what on earth possessed me to try and change my luck on what was, just about, the hottest day of the year.  But as I stood there on Friday afternoon, the sun streaming in and the kitchen windows wide open, topping and tailing gooseberries while my pastry recovered in the freezer from the effects of my hot and sticky hands, it did sort of feel a bit like proper summer.


Gooseberries are, I think, the most summer-y of fruits. If I want raspberries or apricots or peaches in mid-December, then I can usually find a pale imitation in the supermarket, flown in from southern Europe or Africa or grown somewhere in an industrial hot house. I don’t tend to bother with them but there is clearly a market there. There doesn’t, however, seem to be much of a market for out-of-season gooseberries and so their appearance in late May/early June always provokes a little squeal of excitement.

Now that we’re slightly later in the season and the gooseberries are slightly sweeter, I’m not adverse to eating them raw but they do really shine when cooked down with a splash of water and a touch of sugar. The resulting compote has a myriad of uses, not least being swirled through my morning bowl of yoghurt and granola, but I think these little bakewell tarts might be the best use I’ve found for it so far.

Happy summer all!


gooseberry bakewell tarts {gluten free}

I love gooseberries but they are a very seasonal fruit and not that widely available, particularly outside Europe. They are so bright and sour though that they work wonderfully in these tarts, nestled under some lemon-scented frangipane and encased in sweet, buttery pastry. Rhubarb would be a good alternative if you can't get gooseberries. Really, any fruit would work but you'll want to play with the sugar level so that the whole thing doesn't end up too sweet.


    For the gooseberry compote:
  • 250g (10 oz) gooseberries, topped and tailed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • A splash of water
  • For the pastry:
  • 60g (1/2 cup) rice flour
  • 30g (1/4 cup) corn flour
  • 25g (1/4 cup) ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 55g (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 beaten egg (reserve the other half for the filling)
  • A splash of cold water, if needed
  • For the bakewell tart filling:
  • 55g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 55g (1/4 cup) unrefined caster/granulated sugar
  • 1/2 beaten egg (leftover from the pastry)
  • 55g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  • Flaked almonds, to decorate


  1. First of all, make the gooseberry compote by placing the gooseberries, a little sugar and a splash of water into a small pan over over low-medium heat. Cook the gooseberries for 20 minutes or so until they have started to break down and gone a bit sludgy. Taste the compote to see if it needs a touch more sugar (gooseberries at this time of year don't need much and you want something pleasingly tart to contrast with the sweet pastry and filling). Set the compote aside until cool. It can be made the day before if you like.
  2. To make the tarts, lightly grease a 12 hole cupcake or muffin tin. Place the rice flour, ground almonds and corn flour in a food processor with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles (large) breadcrumbs. Add the 1/2 egg and a tablespoon of water and pulse again until the mixture starts to clump together (you may need a touch more water). Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring it together with your hands. You can, clearly, make the pastry by hand if you'd rather.
  3. Roll the pastry out thinly and cut out 12 circles approximately 4 inches across. Place each circle of pastry in a hole of the muffin tin and gently press it down and to the edges. Trim off any excess pastry with a sharp knife. Place the pastry cases in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F (fan 170C). Beat together the butter and sugar for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually add the 1/2 egg, continuing to beat all the time. Fold through the ground almonds and lemon zest.
  5. Remove the pastry cases from the fridge and divide the compote between them. Completely cover with frangipane and scatter flaked almonds on top.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and the tarts are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.


Adapted from these little bakewell tarts.

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38 Responses to "gooseberry bakewell tarts {gluten free}"
  1. I don’t know that I’ve ever tried gooseberries but this recipe has convinced me I need to change that!

  2. Ruby says:

    These are lovely! I haven’t tried making gluten-free pastry yet, but this dough seems pretty doable. Can’t wait to try!

  3. Gorgeous! I’ve just been to my local pick your own and though I tried one and they were delicious, I didn’t pick up a punnet of gooseberries. Regretting it now…

  4. Erin says:

    Every year does go faster! I heard someone say once it seems that way because when you’re 10 one year is a whole tenth of your life, but when you’re 30 it’s 1/30 of your life, so it seems like less time, which makes sense.
    Also a Christmas invitation already! Goodness!

  5. No, I totally feel you!! I think it’s because winter was so harsh this year I keep expecting to go outside in my parka…like, I’ve only worn shorts TWICE this summer! I love these tarts….the gooseberries scream summer :)

  6. Tieghan says:

    I need to find me some gooseberries, try them and them make these!! Like right away!

  7. cynthia says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! True summer has been a little bit elusive, it’s so true (although it’s definitely hit us right in the face here this week). I’m so intrigued by gooseberries, I don’t think I’ve ever had them. They look phenomenal in these tarts, though, especially since I adore bakewell tarts. Love these, Kathryn. (And P.S. Thanks for always making me smile with your comments :) They are so appreciated.)

  8. Hooray for gooseberries! I’ve been cooking them with elderflower cordial and brown sugar…so delicious. These little bakewells look perfect x

  9. I love gooseberries, but they’re a bit hard to find in the US. So glad you decided to venture back into making pastry, since these look absolutely wonderful!

  10. You know, I think that’s part of why I like baking and blogging about it to begin with–by stopping to make something and talk about it, I notice more, and when I notice more, it’s the closest thing to slowing life down. Reading this post reminded me, too, that, woah, the year is past half over. I look ahead so much to my friend’s wedding in November or our book coming out around the same time that I don’t even realize I’m pushing myself mentally past the days I’m in now! I hate that. Maybe we need constant reminders like this one, all the time, in order to stop and see where we are.

  11. Alanna says:

    Oh! These are just lovely. I’m terribly envious of your gooseberries – I’ve never seen them here in California nor have I ever tried them. I’m really glad you found some pastry success. I have the same bad pastry juju some weeks/months, too – it’s the worst. But I think that’s normal when you’re trying to create new pastries, especially gluten-free ones – tricky little buggers. In any case, I can’t believe how quickly the months/years fly by either. Thanks for this lovely post – I hope to make these someday when gooseberries come into my life. :)

  12. What a great idea to use gooseberries, I LOVE gooseberries – I wish I could but you never see them in Maine, USA :(

  13. Gooseberries! I use them way too seldom in my kitchen which really is a bit of a tragedy… They are fantastic but somehow I tend to forget that. Thank you for this reminder, Kathryn. Your tarts look nothing but delicious.

  14. molly yeh says:

    cue the uncontrollable craving for a bakewell tart. AHHHH!!!!!!!

  15. I need to try gooseberries. These look so delicious, Kathryn!

  16. I have never tried gooseberries! Maybe I need to because judging by this and the comments they sound delicious! I do like the idea of a rhubarb bakewell however… L x

  17. Mmmm this looks great! I’ve never actually tried a gooseberry as they always seem quite tart, but this looks so delicious and you’ve got some great shots up there Kathryn!

  18. I’ll have to get down to the PYO and nab some gooseberries while they are still in season. These look beautiful. I’ll have to rebrand them in my house though as my OH is from Bakewell and refuses ‘bakewell’ named treats unless it’s an authentic Bakewell Pudding!

  19. I feel the same way about summer not really being here. But I think in my case it’s because of my upcoming wedding in August, and that this “race to the finish line” is just that – a race – while also trying to slow time down a little bit. So this summer feels a little strange to me, and I’m oddly already craving September and October weather, but I think that’s because once those months roll around I might actually be able to relax. Delicious post as always ;-) xoxo

  20. Emma says:

    My parents have more gooseberries than they know what to do with… perfect solution right here!

  21. Oh wow, I’ve never had a gooseberry before! These are the perfect little tarts to bake up with them if you have a bunch!

  22. Erika says:

    Oof–like many others, I’ve never had gooseberries before, but they look AWESOME!! Kind of like grapes. Although I’m assuming I shouldn’t use grapes if I try this ;) I completely agree that summer seems to be hurtling by!! Like, wasn’t it JUST May? How is August already around the corner?! I want this summer to last forever!!

  23. The gooseberries that’s popping up a whole lot on my instagram feed is really intriguing! Your tart looks beautiful, much respect as always for those baking for special diets! You truly rocked this recipe :)

  24. Oh beautiful little cakes! Another gluten free recipe – you are amazing.

  25. Allison says:

    These are just delightful! And I know what you mean about summer -I feel the same way. It kind of just arrives and I never really feel like I’m fully into it. And then BOOM it’s fall. A few of these babies would make me feel pretty summery though! I wish I could find gooseberries where I live. So cool! Happy summer back at cha :)

  26. I have so many gooseberries in the garden and have been wondering what to do with all of them! I’d love to make your Bakewell tarts! Do you think I could replace the corn and rice flour with 90g plain flour (if I was feeling lazy/poor)? x

    • kathryn says:

      Yup, that’s absolutely fine – you’ll just get standard pastry! You don’t even need the ground almonds if you’re using gluten-y flour. Hope you like them!

  27. Lindsey says:

    i’ve never had a gooseberry, but i imagine they taste dang fine with whatever you bake them with! i always enjoy your bakewell tarts and love the idea of sweet and tangy flavors! hope you are getting to enjoy all of summer’s joys :) xo

  28. yum! these look divine.. thanks for sharing the great recipe. definitely something i can see myself making, if only it wasn’t so hard to get my hands on gooseberries in Australia!

  29. Kathryn, these look delicious!! I am so intrigued by these adorable berries, I wish I could get my hand on some. I hope it doesn’t get to hot in your parts. I was baking the other day and instantly thought, “why do I have to bake in the HOTTEST day”. I was pretty painful, but totally worth it.

  30. Joanne says:

    We don’t even get gooseberries here in the US! Crying a little bit inside because of that. I’m so glad you broke your pastry bad luck streak!

  31. It’s only as a grown-up (and I say that very loosely) that I’ve appreciated the tart sharpness of a gooseberry and these lovely sweet little frangepine tarts appeal both to the sweet tooth of my youth and my more adult tastes. Delicious.

  32. Stephanie says:

    Oh my! the filling in these looks so good. I was stuck in the same non-summer rut, until summer arrive full force and now I’m torn between celebrating in the sun, or stealing the next door neighboors kiddies pool to hide out from the heat in

  33. Skye says:

    Love that you’ve made these tarts with gooseberries. Heavenly. And wonderfully original.
    And by the way – sending out Christmas invites before Halloween is utterly socially unacceptable. Would have triggered a major existential crisis in me too! Xx

  34. Not normally a gooseberry fan, but this has convinced me to give it a go!

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