This tangy gooseberry dessert with its smooth custard and unusual hints of lavender and marigold is worth the effort and looks very impressive when served at dinner parties
Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Skill level: Bit of effort




    • 1tsp fresh, or dried, lavender flowers


    • 6-7tbs caster sugar


    • 2 thin strips lemon rind


    • 400g (14oz) gooseberries, topped and tailed


    • 4 drops of lavender essence


    • About 100ml (3½fl oz) double cream, whipped


    • Marigold and lavender flowers, to decorate


For the custard:

    • 300ml (½ pint) milk


    • 2 heads of calendula/ marigold


    • 3 medium egg yolks


    • 2 level tbs caster sugar


    • 1 level tbs cornflour


    • 6 drops of lavender essence






    1. To make the custard: Pour the milk into a medium pan, add the calendula/marigold petals and heat gently until almost boiling. Pour into a jug, then blitz with a stick blender.


    1. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a mixing bowl. Pour the milk over, whisking well, and pour the mixture back into the rinsed pan. Stir over a medium heat quite vigorously until it simmers. Cook for a minute. Add 6 drops of lavender essence. Pour into a jug or bowl. Cover closely with cling film and let it cool.


    1. To cook the gooseberries: Put the lavender flowers, sugar and lemon rind with 100ml (3½fl oz) water in a small pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 mins. Add the gooseberries and cook for about 3 mins, shaking the pan occasionally, until the fruit is just soft. Take out the lemon rind.


    1. Drain the fruit, keeping the juices. Pour these back into the pan and boil until syrupy. Add 4 drops of lavender essence. Leave to cool.


    1. Spoon the gooseberries and lavender syrup into 4 tumblers. Spoon the custard, then whipped cream, on top of the fruit. Decorate with marigold petals and just a few lavender flowers.



Nutritional information per portion



fat 21.0g saturates 11.0g calories 339(kcal)


This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.