Gooseberry cheesecake – only slightly hairy

My husband is not very hairy. He has a good sense of humour, though, so as a result, other man friends will sometimes tease him about his hairlessness.

I have no idea why furriness should be something to be proud of, but certain guys definitely seem to hang it over Phil’s head (he does have hair there, just to give an accurate picture). I mean, I know my mom always lusted after Magnum PI,

magnumpibut I’m not sure that a fluffy chest should automatically translate into male sexual machismo. Hairy guys definitely seem to take bear-chested pride in it, though.

This brings me to my next dangerous food. While we were in Ireland earlier this spring, we hung out with Phil’s Uncle Dick, who is a big supercool 80-year-old deadpan jokester with an accent so thick you can only understand half of what he’s saying. When Phil is on vacation he enjoys also taking a vacation from shaving. So after a week of doing this and seeing Uncle Dick for the first time, he took one look at Phil and said, “There’s more hair on a gooseberry, boy.”

So when I saw gooseberries for sale on our street…


I had to determine their hairiness for myself. I discovered quickly that Uncle Dick was actually accurate in his description of my husband’s hairiness – I had thought he was calling him a gooseberry because gooseberries were hairless and he was saying Phil had less, trying to exaggerate. But no, each gooseberry does have a tiny ponytail of hair. Not that Phil has a ponytail.



I had heard of gooseberry jam, but I don’t make jam because that always seems like so much work, and plus I don’t like to poison people with my cooking if I should happen to cut corners, and I’ve heard this is kind of easy to do with jams. So I browsed recipes and found this one for gooseberry cheesecake. Disclaimer – this may be the most unhealthy food I’ve ever cooked on this blog, but it was tasty, as unhealthy things often are. And it takes a while to go through cooling stages, so make it on a rainy day when you can do other things and check in on it.

Gooseberry, ginger and creme fraiche cheesecake

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 500g full-fat cream cheese (two boxes)
  • 225g caster sugar (1 cup and 2Tbsp of fast-dissolving sugar)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 5 tbsp ginger cordial (I used ginger syrup because I happened to have some, don’t ask. Do your best to improvise)
  • 350g gooseberries, topped and tailed (slightly more than half a pint)
  • 200g tub crème fraîche (about a cup)
  • For the base
  • 75g butter (5Tbsp)
  • 100g ginger snap biscuits (check the package at the back and it will say “3 cookies equals 25g portion size” or similar)
  • 100g digestive biscuits (same portion size instructions as previous)
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar (brown sugar)


1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2/300F. Lightly grease and base line a 23cm/9″ springform tin with baking paper.

2. Make the base. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Put all the biscuits into a plastic bag and, using a rolling pin, crush until they are fine crumbs. Alternatively, you can whizz them in a food processor. Tip into the pan with the melted butter, add the demerara sugar and mix together well. Using the back of a spoon, press evenly into the base of the tin. Set aside.

3. Beat the cream cheese and 150g caster sugar together in a bowl until smooth. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the cornflour and 3 tablespoons ginger cordial. Pour the mixture into the tin

IMG_4208and bake in the oven for about 55 minutes, until set with just the slightest hint of a wobble in the centre. Turn off the oven and leave to cool inside – this is what prevents a baked cheesecake from cracking.

4. Meanwhile, put the gooseberries, 25g caster sugar and the remaining ginger cordial into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 5 minutes until they are just soft but still holding their shape.

IMG_4209-001Tip into a sieve set over a bowl and leave to drain. Tip the syrup back into the pan and boil rapidly until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Tip the gooseberries into the bowl and stir in the syrup. Leave to cool.

5. When the cheesecake has cooled (it doesn’t need to be completely cold), remove it from the oven. Re-set the oven temperature to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2/300F. Spread the cooked gooseberries evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Mix the crème fraîche with the remaining 50g caster sugar and spread over the top of the gooseberries to cover completely. Return the cheesecake to the oven and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.

Again, turn off the oven and leave it to go cold inside. Cover with cling film, then transfer to the fridge for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight, until the crème fraîche has set.

6. Just before serving, carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin and transfer it to a serving plate or board.


Results: How can you go wrong with cheesecake? Gooseberries taste kind of like tart grapes, so if you like to balance your sweets with a tarty nip then this dessert is for you. The cake is kind of ugly, I’m not going to lie, but I don’t think guests who like cheesecake would complain. Rating: 3 Yums

You will enjoy this hairless gooseberry cake.

Question: Pearce Brosnan Bond, or Daniel Craig?


    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      July 20, 2013

      I bet you could do something very similar with cranberries. Any fruit that’s a bit of a tart. What part of the world are you in?

  1. Leave a Reply

    July 23, 2013

    I’m lol’n right now. Loved that. I now want to see a gooseberry in person just to visualize the peak of hairiness Phil had going in Ireland. Uncle Dick sounds hilare.

    This cheesecake sure sounds delish 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      July 23, 2013

      Gooseberries are very attractive. Just sayin.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Heather Sccott
    July 24, 2013

    Ann you have given me a laugh,could just hear Uncle Dick knowing his form!
    This sounds delicious not sure i want to go to the trouble though plenty of gooseberries here (my Granny used to grow them and I remember collecting them in buckets for her to make jam)

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      July 24, 2013

      Yes, he’s definitely a character! I’m sure he also would love this cheesecake if only there were some way to share it long distance! (There’s still a hunk of it in the fridge here because Phil’s sweet tooth is as understated as his facial hair)

  3. Leave a Reply

    The Detox Diva
    July 24, 2013

    I love gooseberries! Actually, the only thing unhealthy about the recipe is the base. The cream is lovely saturated fat so it is definitely a win.

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      July 24, 2013

      Who doesn’t like saturated fat? Except maybe the heart and stroke foundation

  4. Leave a Reply

    Joanna @ Midwestern Bite
    July 29, 2013

    Did you know that my husband planted a Gooseberry bush out front????? Well he did. In however many years it takes to grow and produce gooseberries I’m so making cheesecake.

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      July 29, 2013

      Awesome! The bald ones are really very tasty.

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