Gooseberry Jam Donuts

25 Jul 2012

“You can’t grow hairs on a duck egg,

Hairs only grow on an ape,

And it’s only the hairs on a goosegog,

That stop it from being a grape.”

~author unknown

As I patiently plucked goosegog after goosegog last weekend, I contemplated how deceptively ‘like grapes’ these little fruits appear to be. But, after popping one little globe into my mouth, while simultaneously hearing “Oh, you may not want to eat them raw” warned from behind me at precisely the same time, I realized in a bite, how absolutely ‘not like a grape’ and more like a lemon, they are…..{Cook’s Note: gooseberries are very sour and tart when eaten raw. There are some exceptions to this, but it is generally the rule.}

Yes, the glory of gooseberry season has arrived in the Irish countryside. I have been patiently waiting for harvest time since peeking in on the bushes last month to find that they were all beginning to produce berries. When there was finally a window of sunshine, Geoffrey and I quickly marched straight on over to the little farm orchard and harvested green and red gooseberries with Gran from six thriving bushes.

This is my third year being acquainted with gooseberries. We have become fast friends. Sure, we always have a little scuffle when I go to pick them from their thorny branches, but once made into jam, all is forgiven again. Last year, I made a simple gooseberry froyo and the year before I posted “Peggy’s Gooseberry Jam” my mother-in-law’s lovely recipe.

This time around, Peggy gave us free reign over the berries as she still has a cupboard full of jam lingering from last season. Since we picked about 8 lbs (15 kgs), I decided to use the berries a few different ways. After a half a day of topping and tailing the berries, we gave them a good wash and they were prepped and ready for the world.

At the brilliant suggestion of my friend, Heidi, at Serious Jam, I combined gooseberry with roasted garlic for a gorgeous relish that will be lovely on crostini or with some sharp Irish cheddar. Then, I made a few pots of classic jam using my spanking new jam jars from Hen and Hammock. After that, we baked two gooseberry-elderflower tarts “grandma style” that were specially requested by my father-in-law.

BUT, best of all….we made:

Homemade donuts are no strangers in this house {cough}, but I had never attempted to make a jam donut up until now. I must admit, jam donuts were never a particular favourite of mine growing up. This is important to note, as I do consider myself somewhat of a donut addict aficionado. I have always relished Long Johns, Persians, Krullers, Kolaches, Fritters, or basically any type of raised unfilled donut slathered with vanilla, chocolate, or maple icing and toasted coconut, crushed peanuts, or various sprinkles gracing the tops. Then, there is also my affinity to the glazed, sugared, and cinnamon-sugared ring donuts and holes.  There was only one exception to my unfilled donut preference; I have always adored bismark donuts filled with custard and poofed all over with powdery confectioners sugar.

For whatever reason, the jelly-jam injection just did not strike my fancy.

Until now.

Originating in Germany around 1532, calling themselves “Berliner Buns” the jelly doughnut popularity spread across Europe swiftly. And, from what I can tell, jam doughnuts appear to be the doughnut-of-choice in Ireland.  They are mostly filled with a very sweet black currant or raspberry jam, and sprinkled liberally with sugar. Every bakery, grocery store, filling station and farmer’s market will have jam donuts ready and waiting for you.

At the little farmer’s urging, we decided to make the doughnuts on Saturday morning and fill them with our freshly potted gooseberry jam. For a little more novelty, we decided to mix up some lemonade and try to sell our donuts and lemonade at the farm gate.

We had one very good customer, and his name was Daddy.

Still, we had no problem finishing off our leftover stock……

Move over Long John, Jammy’s moving in.

Geoffrey’s Gooseberry Jam Doughnuts


2 (7 g each) packets of dried yeast granules

1/4 cup or 60ml warm water

1 cup or 250ml warm milk

1/4 cup or 60g caster/superfine sugar

60g or 3 tbsp butter, melted

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 3/4  cups or 165g  plain flour

1/2 cup or 75g gooseberry jam (or any flavour), approximately {Peggy’s recipe is nice}

Oil for deep frying and icing/confectioner’s sugar for coating


Combine yeast, water milk and sugar in small bowl.

Cover, stand in warm place about 10 minutes or until mixture is frothy.

Stir butter and eggs into yeast mixture.

Sift flour into large bowl, stir in yeast mixture, mix to a soft dough.

Cover, stand in warm place about 45 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead dough about 5 minutes or until smooth.

Roll dough until about 2cm (about 1 inch) thick, cut into 5cm (about 2.5 inch) rounds.

Loosely cover rounds with oiled plastic wrap, stand in warm place about 10 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.

Deep-fry doughnuts in batches in hot oil until well browned, turning once.

Drain on absorbent paper, toss doughnuts immediately in icing sugar

Let cool slightly and fill a pastry bag, fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip with jam.

Insert the tip into the end of each doughnut and pipe approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons into them and serve.

Slan Abhaile,


Photos and styling by Imen McDonnell 2012. Donut making and sales assistance by Geoffrey McDonnell.

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20 Responses to “Gooseberry Jam Donuts”

  1. Rosaleen O'Byrne says:

    Hi there, I am making your doughnuts for the first time and I noticed that you listed 3 and 3/4 cups of flour or 165gms, is that correct? I can’t find what the exact difference is between American cup measurements and Irish cups, but 165 gms seems to be far less than 3 and 3/4 cups, right? I’m going to go with the cups because I think that matches the volume of the other ingredients. Can’t wait to taste them!

  2. Christina says:

    Big fan of gooseberry and donuts also. When I can buy gooseberries again I will definitelly try your recipe, thank u.

  3. Mairead says:

    My mouth is watering thinking of gooseberries. My mom used to make the most delicious gooseberry tart when we were kids. Your gooseberry jam doughnuts sound and look amazing. The gooseberry is the one Irish fruit I would love to be able to get here in America. I remember my cousins in Dublin had gooseberry bushes in their back garden. We watched them closely every summer until the fruit was perfectly plump and ripe, then feasted on them. Thanks for bringing back such lovely memories.

  4. kale says:

    The pics are adorable, I love the striped apron!

  5. 8 lbs of gooseberries… oh my 🙂 I love making cakes with gooseberries in the summer.

  6. On Fridays, I share my favorite food finds in a series called Food Fetish Friday. This post was were recommended to me by Anneli from Delicieux.e blog – and I’m so glad she pointed me in your direction. I’m featuring this recipe as part of today’s roundup (with a link-back and attribution) and I hope you have no objections. I’m happy to be following along with your creations…

  7. Oh my, 15kg lucky girl. Although I never liked it in a jam, I prefer them raw.
    Gooseberries aren’t sour, the secret is to not to eat the skin. You just bite it, suck the inside and throw away the skin. Then they are very sweet.

  8. This year I got three gooseberries. Just three itty bitty ones. I need to find out what Peggy’s secret is.

  9. Eadaoin says:

    Hello little farmer, how lovely to see him on here! It must be a joy to have a Mum like you who will bake such delicious treats with him. I hope some day to do the same with my own future little ones :). The idea of roasted garlic and gooseberry chutney is very appealing, I’d love to give that a try. Your doughnuts look divine, enough to tempt me away from a gluten free diet when the time is right!

  10. Beautiful! I’ve got young gooseberries so dont get enough fruit to make anything yet, but I hope to be able to make some jam in a few years! Definietly have to keep this recipe in mind!

  11. Cathy Norrie says:

    Oh how lovely! I would have been your second best customer! Your wee farmer is so sweet… I bet he had fun with all of this. While living in New Zealand we had some lovely gooseberry bushes and would make gooseberry tarts and the little green and red jewels looked as beautiful as they tasted. Since moving back to Canada I have not had one little gooseberry – something to look forward to 🙂
    Thanks for the lovely post.

  12. Sonia says:

    Beautiful post! And G looks so rosy, like a little berry himself! 🙂

  13. Tesei says:

    The doughnuts look absolutely yummy but your little farmer is something one just can’t not comment on! Congratulations 🙂

  14. Parisbug says:

    O.M.G. That pose! That face! The wee apron! J’adore ce petit mignon! :))

  15. Krista says:

    So cute 🙂 I love your sign and box. 🙂 What scrumptious little morsels these must be. 🙂

  16. Alicia says:

    These sounds delicious, miles better than the ones with strawberry jam!

  17. I’ve never eaten a gooseberry, but they look similar to the translucent currents I’ve been seeing at the farmer’s market. ‘Jelly doughnuts’ are a guilty pleasure of mine, and these look like they’d be the ultimate gourmet version, so I need to try them!

  18. Kristin says:

    “We had one very good customer, and his name was Daddy.” So sweet! The best customer.

  19. Lovely Post Imen – I love gooseberries and love them raw. My Granny and I spent many childhood summers picking them in England – Gooseberry jam is a favourite of mine – sadly can’t get my Granny’s anymore.
    Your donuts look so fabulous – I have to buckle down and do some cooking again one of these days.
    Lovely post – have a fabulous holiday back home – catch up in the Autumn.

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