This post is delayed as I had so much stuff on my mind I couldn’t get down to the writing even after putting in the effort and making blackcurrant sorbet 3 weeks ago. Put a suspected fractured foot has grounded me and given me the time and impetus to write this post and others.
I was home at the weekend visiting my dad and from a previous email I knew that the blackcurrants were in season and were in abundance. On a beautiful Sunday morning, the blackcurrant bush was heavy with black globes of fruit, many bigger than blueberries, after a warm and moist season. The branches were damp with the morning dew and all the fruit was hidden by the lush green leaves. A couple of hours picking resulted in 3 lbs of beautifully fresh fruit. My dad had already made jam, (previously always made by my mother, but my dad wishes to continue the tradition) so I looked for some inspiration for an alternative use of these berries.
On a two day cookery course in Ballymaloe many years ago with my mum we learnt how to make a blackcurrant sauce that was beautiful swirled through cream. With that in mind I decided to make a blackcurrant sorbet as I wanted to try out the ice-cream maker that I had commandeered from my mum.
A sorbet is a non-dairy alternative to ice-cream and is perfect for citrus or strong tasting fruit. Blackcurrants are tart and sour and need sugar to make them palatable, though my 3 year old nephew from America enjoyed them as though they were sweets and spent a day eating them off the bush.
The Ballymaloe cookbook has a recipe for blackcurrant sorbet using only sugar and blackcurrants. I used this recipe but I also decided to add sparkling water as I wanted it to be somewhat lighter. This sorbet is not cooked or heated and so the flavour is as fresh and bright as you can get. It also helped that the berries had only been picked for 8 hours; garden to freezer in 8 hours.
While they are called blackcurrants, it is only their skin that is a deep purple and their flesh is a pale and translucent green. The sorbet turns out a deep, dark pink that could be mistaken for raspberry sorbet that is until you taste its deep intense flavour.
1 lb blackcurrants
6 oz caster sugar
5 fl oz sparkling water
Place the blackcurrants in a blender or food processer and blend until smooth and fine.
Sieve the blackcurrant mixture using a nylon sieve (this will take some time).
Stir through the caster sugar until dissolved.
Gently stir the sparkling water into the blackcurrant and sugar mixture.
If using an ice-cream maker, pour the mixture into the ice-cream maker and blend until nearly frozen. (Refer to ice-cream maker instructions).
Put the nearly frozen ice-cream into a freezer container and freeze for 2-3 hours.
Pour the sorbet mixture into a freezer container and place in the freezer.
Freeze for 2 hours. Using a fork, run the fork through the freezing sorbet to break up the ice crystals.
Continue every hour to run your fork through the sorbet and continue freezing for 4-6 hours.
The only thing left to do is to enjoy this beautiful sorbet. It’ll be waiting for you in the freezer and its warm pink glow will wink at you each time you open the door. Until next time………