We have had a really good crop of blackcurrants this year in our garden and we have managed to pick them between the rain showers. The smell of a colander full of blackcurrants is really quite intoxicating and as I was admiring their perfect purply black beauty I was wondering what would make the best use of this fruit. A summer pudding is always very welcome in this house, but I was a bit short of bread. I had a tub of cream which was just hanging on inside its use-by date so I thought it had to be ice cream.
The taste of this ice cream, both creamy and sharp at the same time, really is very enjoyable and it manages to capture the essence of the blackcurrant with its heady aroma.
I decided to make a sauce to go over it with another load of the horde and then what wasn’t used to adorn Sunday’s pudding I have frozen into ice lollies for when the summer returns!
I have used the recipe for Blackcurrant Ice Cream from The River Cottage Family Cookbook (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Fizz Carr, 2005) which uses the basic custard method, but then adds extra double cream for added oomph.
I admit that I tend to only buy double cream, so when a recipe calls for single cream I just use about three-quarters double cream and a quarter milk. I have no idea if this a huge faux pas or not, but it seems to work ok for me. Please feel free though to be more sensible and use both single cream and double cream as directed.
For the ice cream
2 tbsp water
300ml (or a 284ml pot) single cream
4 egg yolks
125g caster sugar
300ml (or a 284ml pot) double cream
Place the blackcurrants an 2 tbsp of water into a pan and simmer until they are soft and pulpy. Leave to cool.
Pour the single cream into a saucepan with the vanilla pod and heat until it is steaming. Take off the heat.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until they are thick and paler. Pour the cream over the eggs, whisking all the while. Pour this mixture back into the pan and place over a gentle heat. Stir the mixture all the time to prevent scrambled eggs and keep stirring until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Take off the heat and stir for a few minutes until it has cooled down. Leave to one side whilst you deal with the blackcurrants.
Pour the blackcurrants into a sieve set over a bowl and using a metal spoon stir the mixture until all that is left in the sieve is skin and seeds and you have a lovely seed free blackcurrant sauce in the bowl. Add this blackcurrant sauce to the custard mixture and mix well. Add the double cream and mix this in well.
Place in an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions or pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container and freeze for an hour. Remove from the freezer and beat well. Return to the freezer and repeat this process another two times.
This ice cream freezes hard so you will need to remember to remove it from the freezer a good ten minutes before you want to eat it.
For the blackcurrant sauce:
Repeat the process for making the sauce above by simmering the blackcurrants, with a tablespoon or two of water until soft and pulpy. Leave to cool. Press through a sieve over a bowl. Add icing sugar to taste.
Use this as a sauce or freeze in ice lolly containers for a refreshing sharp ice lolly on a hot day.