Culinary Anthropologist

Gooseberry curd


A delicious alternative to lemon curd – for toast, scones, tarts, berries, meringues or whatever you fancy.  This recipe is based on one by Marguerite Patten.  It uses more sugar than more ‘modern’ recipes, but this means it will last several months as opposed to several weeks.  I don’t enjoy agonising over whether to eat something possibly past its safety limit, so prefer to use the extra sugar.  And it tastes great.


Recipe:  Gooseberry curd

Makes:  around four 8oz jars

500g gooseberries (very tart ones are best)
50ml water
caster sugar (see below for quantity)
unsalted butter, cut into chunks (see below for quantity)
a small pinch of salt
large eggs (see below for quantity)
2 tbsps elderflower cordial, or to taste (optional)

  1. Place your jars in the oven and heat to 140°C.  Leave them there until needed.  Also, have a clean bowl, whisk and sieve standing by in case of curdling disaster…
  2. Don’t bother top and tailing the gooseberries.  Put them in a saucepan with the water, partially cover and let simmer for around 10 minutes or until exploded and pulpy.  Rub through a sieve to make a puree.  Measure your puree.  For every 400ml you will need 80g butter, 300g caster sugar and two large eggs.
  3. Put puree, sugar, butter and salt into a bowl placed on top of a pan of barely simmering water.  Whisk until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved.  Try to keep sides of bowl clean.
  4. Now whisk eggs together and then whisk into the curd.  Add cordial if using.  Whisk constantly as the mixture heats and thickens.  Once thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, it is ready.  This may take a little while.  It should be smooth, not lumpy.  FYI:  The curd will pasteurise at 72°C and thicken nicely at 82°C.  (If it goes too far and curdles, immediately take off the heat, pour through your reserved clean sieve into your reserved clean bowl and whisk like mad with your reserved clean whisk.)
  5. Decant curd through a sieve into a jug, and then immediately pour into hot jars right up to the brim and seal.  Turn jars upside down for 5 to 10 minutes to sterilise the insides of the lids, then let cool the right way up.  Store in a cool, dark place and consume within one month.



  1. Lindsey jackson

    I went to the local farm for gooseberries but season over. Anyway Chloe and I will try this tonight with supermarket gooseberries. I love anything with gooseberries in so I’m looking forward to this

  2. Christine

    I’m intrigued by this recipe as reminds me of one from Elizabeth Luard for gooseberry and elderflower jelly that I used to make.. Sadly I have no time to do the jelly as too busy running a BnB in Cambridge 😉
    Anyway, I just might try this but please clarify – does the curd last several months as stated in the intro due to higher sugar content – or just for one month as in the recipe?

  3. Anna

    Hi Christine
    Well spotted! I think the reality is it will keep several months if properly cooked, hot-sealed in sterilised jars and stored somewhere cool and dark. In the fridge it certainly should do. I think I got cold feet putting it on the internet and reduced shelf life to one month as it IS one of the riskier preserves, being made of eggs.
    Which is your B&B in Cambridge? (I am from Cambridge originally.)