In a small saucepan over high heat, add gooseberries to water and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sugar; mash gently to incorporate. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Let cool to room temperature.
In a separate bowl, whip cream to soft peaks. Fold in gooseberries. Spoon into sherbet or cocktail glasses and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.
Adapted from The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007)