I love the ease of a free-form fruit pie. No need for a tin or dish; just gather up the sides of the pastry and carefully press around the filling. You've essentially created a scruffy-looking pastry bowl; one that looks all the better for it's irregularity and absence of uniformity. Gooseberries are at their best right now; there's a wonderful Pick Your Own just down the road from us, and these little jade marvels were half the price of the Strawberries a few rows down - always a bonus. Makes 4 small pies.
100g Granulated sugar
A generous splash of Elderflower cordial
600g Shortcrust pastry
1 Egg, beaten
1 Heat your oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Simmer the gooseberries on a low heat with the sugar and elderflower cordial for about 5 minutes; the berries need to soften slightly but still retain their shape.
2 Roll the pastry out on a floured surface until approximately 3mm thick. Place a dinner plate onto the pastry before trimming to leave a circular disc of pastry. Gently position a smaller, saucer-sized plate in the centre of the disc, then use the blunt back edge of a knife to lightly score an inner circle.
3 Spoon gooseberries into the inner circle, taking care not to go over the score line. Bring the pastry sides up around the sides of the filling, then shape around the fruit. If the filling sits a bit low in the pie once the sides have been brought up, spoon in a few more gooseberries. Brush the pastry with beaten egg, then sprinkle with Demerara sugar.
4 Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and crumbly. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whatever takes your fancy.