This is a lovely dessert. The almost tropical, honey-sweetness of the gorse flowers contrasts well with the gooseberries. Although most gooseberries are green there are some red variants. I find them growing wild in Clackmannanshire and although they aren’t large, they have brilliant flavour. Here in Scotland the red ones are called grozets.
Using sweet cicely in any recipe with rhubarb or gooseberries means that you can halve the amount of sugar normally used. As the gooseberries will be served with gorse flower syrup I have used no sugar with the goosegogs at all!
As a general rule of thumb, two tablespoons (5g) of finely chopped sweet cicely leaves (and very young stems) will replace 100g (4 oz) sugar in a recipe. But experiment yourself – I have never had much of a sweet tooth in the first place.
500g (just over 1lb) Gooseberries, washed, topped and tailed.
5g (2 tbsps) Sweet Cicely leaves (about 2 tops with young stems), very finely chopped.
30 ml (2 tbsps) water Gorse Flower Syrup
Put the gooseberries in a saucepan, add the sweet cicely and the water. Gently heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Stew until the gooseberries are slightly tender. Serve with Gorse Flower Syrup.
You can also stew rhubarb with sweet cicely in the same way. With rhubarb it is nice to use chopped sweet cicely stems as the texture complements the rhubarb stalks. Serve with green custard.