Cape gooseberry tart is an easy recipe to prepare at the end of autumn. This fruity, tangy tart is best served with freshly-made custard.
Cape Gooseberry tart and jam – another family tradition!
When I was a child living in south-east Queensland my Dad would bundle us up in the family car to head out to the forestry pine tree plantations near our town. Here we would meet up with some other family friends to pick buckets full of the cape gooseberries growing wild in the plantation. It was an annual ritual. My Dad would make enough gooseberry jam to last our family for the year. Jam-making was his “thing”.
About Cape Gooseberries
I guess I din’t think too much about the wild gooseberry plants growing in the pine plantations when I was a child. But now I realise the cape gooseberries were an invasive weed. The plant is classified as an invasive weed in Western Australia. The Cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) was native to South America, but has been introduced across most of the world, including Australia.
In warm climates the cape gooseberry is perennial. However in Tasmania, where we live, it is a summer annual, fruiting by mid to late Autumn. I have only ever had success with getting ripe fruit when I have grown the plants in my hot house. And even then, the plants need to be raised as soon as possible after the last frosts in early spring.
My cape gooseberry tart recipe
- 60 g castor sugar
- 75 g plain flour
- 75 g self-raising flour
- 30 g corn starch flour
- 90 g unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- cold water
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
- 1 to 2 cups gooseberries
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/4 cup hot water
To make the pastry: Cream the butter and sugar using your benchtop cake mixer. Then, using the dough hook, add in the combined flours. Keep mixing till the mixture becomes crumbly. Then add in the egg yolk. Now mix till a ball of soft dough forms. You may need to add a small quantity of cold water to make this happen (1-2 tablespoons). Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, shape it into a ball, and leave it in a cool place (not the fridge) for a few hours.
This is a biscuit pastry, so it doesn’t roll out easily. You will need to roughly roll the dough out to the size of your pie dish. Then gently lift it into the pie dish and push it into shape with your fingers. I use a 20 cm pie dish.
Bake the pastry at 200 deg C for up to 30 minutes or till it becomes a light golden colour. It is best to use baking beads to prevent the pastry rising in the centre of the dish. However, sometimes I just use a small casserole dish placed on top of the pastry for the first 10 minutes of baking. 🙂
To cook the filling: Add the apricot jam and washed berries into a small saucepan. The last tart I made (pictured) was made with home made apricot jam. The apricots were from a friend’s garden!
Bring the heat up slowly till the mixture starts to simmer gently. Now you can make a smooth corn flour paste, using the hot water. Then you can slowly add the starch solution to the simmering mixture. But keep stirring to prevent lumps forming. Allow the mixture to simmer gently for about another 10 minutes. You should see the mix thicken and the berries start to pop.
It is not a good idea to keep cooking the mix for so long that all the berries split and lose their shape. If you think the mixture isn’t thick enough try adding a little more corn flour. However, it is probably better to just let the mixture cool down. I found that it will set when you place the tart in the fridge.
Put it together: Pour the slightly thickened and cooled fruit mixture into the cooled tart shell. Then place the tart in the fridge. The tart should set after a few hours.
Serve the tart with some yummy thick custard!
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