June 28th, 2009


Gooseberry Polenta Slice

Gooseberries and rhubarb never used to excite me. Only recently did I start to appreciate the British love affair with these tart seasonal delights. I have never thought that I would call a gooseberry dish a delight but I’m converted following this seasons gooseberry recipes, they are all wonderful and this gooseberry polenta slice recipe is a great success.

The polenta pastry is almost like a shortbread and has a sticky consistency in the raw. My actual thought was that it was going to be a disaster but smiles all round as it emerged from the oven with a golden brown glow. My secret ingredient for this recipe is a dab of custard powder. If you cannot force yourself into buying a tin of custard powder then use cornflour as a substitute instead, it gives the pastry the short texture and I like the custard powder as it enriches the pastry.

This gooseberry polenta slice recipe is perfect for my annual summers picnic in a few weeks time. I make the slices a day in advance to give it chance to mature, the flavours merge and come together nicely. The slices are firm enough to hold in the hand and it travels pretty well.

It’s a reliable number, a great recipe to have up your sleeve, guaranteed a few oohs and aahs….


Polenta Pastry

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 5g custard powder
  • 125g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g polenta
  • 2 medium free range egg yolks

Cream the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, cream well.

Add the custard powder and flour and mix until the pastry comes together. The pastry should be sticky and very soft. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.

Line a 35cm x 10cm x 2.5 cm baking tray with parchment paper, roll the pastry out between two sheets of parchment paper until 6 - 8 mm thick.

Gently line the tray and let the pastry have a 4cm over hang, this will be folded over to encase the gooseberries. Place the lined pastry tin in the fridge until needed.

Gooseberry Polenta Slice

  • 400g gooseberries
  • 12 sugar lumps
  • 40g polenta + 5g for dusting
  • 1 free range medium egg white

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Wash the gooseberries and remove the stalk, drain well.

Whip the egg white until fluffy and slightly aerated.

Cut the sugar lumps into pieces, do not chop them too small.

Fold the gooseberries into the whipped egg white and fold in the polenta and half of the chopped sugar lumps.

Spoon the gooseberries into the lined polenta pastry case, fold the sides of the pastry over and press to the ends together to make a smooth edge encasing the gooseberries.

Scatter the rest of the sugar lumps over the gooseberry mix, and sprinkle the 5g polenta over the tart.

Bake the gooseberry slice for 40 minutes, turn the oven to 180°C and bake for further 15 minutes.

Let the slice cool on a cooling rack before cutting into 6 even size pieces.

Serves 6

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8 Comments to “Gooseberry Polenta Slice”

  1. Shu Han says:

    i’ve never tried a polenta pastry before, and this is really intriguing! “Gooseberries and rhubarb never used to excite me. Only recently did I start to appreciate the British love affair with these tart seasonal delights.” indeed, i grew up in singapore, so i was fascinated with gooseberries when i moved to london last year, but no one else seemed particularly excited about them. i can’t wait for the gooseberry season again next year to have a chance to play with them more in the kitchen (:


  2. [...] from British Larder’s Gooseberry Polenta Slice, Makes 12 [...]

  3. Ohhh yum. Thanks for this — I’ve just done a modified version (and turned them into mini tarts) for a dessert party I’m heading to tonight.

    I also used whole-wheat pastry flour in the crust and it turned out gorgeously well. My post will be up on my blog tomorrow, but THANK YOU for a delicious and tart recipe!

  4. Nora says:

    I made this and it was delicious! I had to use blackberries as I couldn’t get any gooseberries, but it still tasted great. Mine was a little more … err … free form (=messy!) than yours, but it still got lots of oohs and aahs at the picnic. Am still determined to make it with gooseberries, though. Thanks for sharing the recipe! :D

  5. Barry says:

    Love the idea of Polenta Pastry.. will certainly try it out for the buffets in the hotels… tropical fruits mixed with a creme Patissier then baked???

  6. Sue says:

    I’ve never used cornmeal in a sweet pastry. I have to try that. Thanks for the ideal of cornstarch as a substitute and lots of fruits would be wonderful. Blueberries for example…Yummy

  7. Nora says:

    Oh my God, that looks delicious! I’ve always been a massive fan of both rhubarb and gooseberries and will wax lyrical about them to any foreigners I can get my hands on!
    I have a summer picnic coming up myself and think this might be just the ticket. You say that you make it a day in advance – if I made it on Wednesday night to eat on Friday lunchtime do you think it would still improve, or is that a bit too long?

    Hi Nora,

    It will be fine! Even better but keep it in the fridge please! Do not want funky gooseberries!


  8. Y says:

    Rhubarb always excites me, but I haven’t quite warmed to gooseberries yet. I like cape gooseberries though. Must try that polenta pastry sometime. It looks great!

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