One the best things about the arrival of warmer weather is indulging in iced desserts. One of my favourites is blackcurrant sorbet. Yes, it does contain some sugar but not much more than a glass of cordial. And how luxurious it seems in comparison, as each icy mouthful melts into an array of vivid flavours.
Blackcurrants are a far better contender for the title ‘superfood’ than the insipid blueberry. Blueberries, however, have had the commercial edge, largely down to successful marketing. In reality the blackcurrant is more concentrated in beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants than blueberries. They are also easier to grow in the English climate and soil, should you have a mind to grow your own.
Blackcurrants are packed with vitamin C and have among the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit. They are particularly rich in anthocyanins, which protect neurons in the brain and have been shown to dramatically improve memory retention and cognitive skills. Anthocyanins also help to keep skin looking younger by oxygenating it.
*Can be made with or without an ice cream maker
150g caster sugar
200ml boiling water
500g fresh or frozen blackcurrants
Juice of 1 lemon
1 small glass of liqueur de crème de cassis (about 90ml) – This is optional, however the alcohol helps to improve texture of the sorbet by discouraging the formation of large ice crystals.
1. In a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the boiling water, then allow it to cool for about fifteen minutes.
2. Add the blackcurrants to the pan and simmer gently until the fruit is soft (about 7 minutes). Place the fruit in a food processor and process until the blackcurrants are pureed, then strain the puree into a bowl through a sieve, rubbing with the back of a spoon to remove the pips. Stir in the lemon juice and allow to completely cool. Add the crème de cassis if using.
3. Freeze the sorbet in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions until it becomes a thick slush, then scoop into a freezer container and freeze until set completely.
4. If not using an ice cream machine, pour the sorbet into a shallow freezer container, placing it in the freezer, before taking it out three to four times to beat as it freezes – this stops ice crystals forming.
5. Before serving, allow the sorbet to thaw and soften slightly, for about five minutes, and then scoop the sorbet into bowls.