This one is for my lovely daughter Nicola. Down from Birmingham for the weekend to catch up with London friends, I was pleased to have her here for Sunday supper and had promised to cook the Roast Sea Bass with Fennel & Orange I made last week. As for pudding, she can’t eat too much dairy or cream so my panna cotta or some rich vanilla ice cream wasn’t going to fit the bill. Then I decided to make the Summer Sorbet I first made this time last year, as it one of my favourite recipes on the blog, but plans changed a little bit once I was stood beside the vegetable and fruit stall in the farmers’ market yesterday morning. I could have bought all the ingredients for the summer sorbet but those punnets of ripe, plump blackcurrants and redcurrants – still very seasonal and available for such a short time – did look nice. So I decided to go for just a ‘currant’ sorbet.
I did in fact use half red- and half blackcurrants but the book editor in me can’t not put in that hyphen after the ‘red-‘ there. Do you see it? And I decided it wouldn’t look good in a recipe title. But then ‘currant’ sorbet wasn’t great either and people might think I was trying to make a sorbet with dried currants. So, after adding some thick and rich cassis to the mix, it became Blackcurrant & Cassis Sorbet!
First of all I made a sugar syrup: put 200g caster sugar and 300ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to mix well. Allow the syrup to bubble away for 2-3 minutes to thicken a little.
Now add the red- and blackcurrants. You want 500g in total – use whatever mix you fancy or all one colour if you prefer. Strip the currants from the stalks but you are going to sieve the mixture eventually so don’t worry too much about extra stalky bits. Bring the syrup back up to the boil and then turn the heat off. Add 2 tablespoons cassis.
Leave the currants to steep in the hot syrup for about ten minutes.
Tip it all into a bowl and blend with a hand blender till smooth.
Now pour into a large jug through a sieve.
Use the back of a spoon to extract all juice. Put the strained mixture into the fridge to finish cooling before you add to your ice-cream maker. I find that my little ice-cream maker copes much better with a fridge-cold mixture than a still slightly warm one. Once the mixture is nice and cold churn in the ice-cream maker till thick.
Then transfer to a freezer container until ready to serve. If it’s in the freezer for a long time before you use it, take out for about 15-20 minutes to soften a bit before serving. You want a soft, creamy consistency not a block hard one! I thought making ice cream was a good reason to buy some macarons from Paul this morning. They may not be traditional accompaniments to ice cream but I like them! And I only buy them as treats. They are my very favourite macarons even though I’ve bought supposedly posher ones – yes, I know, there’s not much posher than Paul!
As you can see there are a few missing. Jonathan and Lyndsey came round with friend Richard en route to Cornwall. We were swapping cars. How did my son get me to agree to swap cars for two weeks? And give him some of the macarons! If you see me driving around in an old racing green Mini over the next two weeks, you’ll know why. There were of course plenty of macarons left to go with the ice cream come supper time.
Scoops of dark blackcurranty heaven went into tall glass dishes; soft, slightly creamy from the churning, and fabulously delicious. It was pure blackcurrant – well, with a bit of red and cassis, too, of course. Forget the sugar and surely it must be good for you; all that vitamin C. It was slightly tart; just how I like it as I don’t like sorbet or ice cream too sweet. It was rich and punchy; a glorious hit of summer fruit. It was a bit different to the summer sorbet but just as good and definitely one to be made again sometime.