The moment I stumbled upon blackcurrant ice cream during my first trip to France, I knew I had found something extraordinary. The flavors were unlike anything I had ever tasted before. Intrigued, I sought out blackcurrant jam and fell in love with it as well. Since then, whenever I have the opportunity to visit England or France, I make sure to indulge in both of these delectable treats. Unfortunately, blackcurrants are hard to come by in the United States, adding to their allure. There is something truly indulgent about sitting at a French cafe, savoring an ice cream sundae, and watching the world go by on a sunny day. So, let me share with you how to make this one-of-a-kind ice cream and enjoy it on a warm summer day.
Image: Black Currant Ice Cream
Blackcurrants have a relatively short season and are often only available at local farmers’ markets. However, this year I was pleasantly surprised to find them at my local grocery store. Eager to experiment, I bought a few and discovered that this recipe can also be made with frozen black currants. In fact, that’s what I used this time as a friend had kindly gifted me a bag. And what better use for them than to create a mouthwatering batch of ice cream?
How to Make French-Style Ice Cream
Ice cream is undoubtedly one of the most delightful parts of summer. So, why not learn how to make it at home? This recipe focuses on French-style ice cream, which incorporates egg yolks into its creamy goodness. To make this delectable treat, you’ll need just five simple ingredients:
- Egg yolks
- Heavy cream
- Whole milk
- Flavoring of your choice, such as black currant puree
If you don’t have black currants, you can easily substitute them with other fruit purees, like strawberries or raspberries.
Image: Ingredients for the Ice Cream Base
The magic begins with a custard base. The addition of egg yolks adds richness and enhances the creaminess of the ice cream by acting as an emulsifier. However, tempering the eggs correctly can be a bit tricky. If the hot liquid is added too quickly, you might end up with scrambled eggs. To avoid this mishap, add the hot milk-cream mixture to the eggs gradually, using a ladle. When cooking the custard, maintain a medium to medium-low heat and whisk constantly. Be careful not to let the custard boil, as it may become somewhat grainy. Cook the custard until it reaches a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit, then strain it through a fine-mesh strainer to eliminate any egg solids.
To ensure that the custard is thoroughly chilled for the ice cream machine, cool it over an ice bath and then refrigerate it for at least 4 hours. For the best results, I recommend letting it chill overnight.
Preparing the Fruit Puree
The fruit puree serves as the flavoring for the ice cream. The goal is to cook the fruit just enough to break it down and make it easy to incorporate into the ice cream. Simply add a small amount of sugar and water to help the fruit cook. In the case of black currants, cook them until the fruit pops and thickens. Due to the natural pectin in black currants, the puree thickens quickly. Once cooked, allow the puree to cool completely and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the ice cream. You should have approximately 3/4 cup of puree.
Image: Fresh Black Currants with Sugar
Image: Black Currant Puree
Churning the Ice Cream to Perfection
For making ice cream, I personally prefer using the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. This model is perfect for me as I make ice cream every 4-6 weeks during the summer. The instructions recommend freezing the bowl for 24 hours before making ice cream, but I find that freezing it for at least 48 hours produces better results.
If you’re planning to make ice cream more frequently, you may want to invest in a self-refrigerating machine. These models contain a compressor and don’t require pre-freezing the container.
Image: Black Currant Ice Cream in Ice Cream Maker
When you’re ready to make the ice cream, taste the ice cream base with the mixed-in fruit puree. At this stage, you should be pleased with the taste. Depending on your desired flavor profile, you can consider adding a little more sugar or a pinch of salt before churning the mixture.
It usually takes about 30 minutes for the ice cream to reach the desired texture in the ice cream maker. It should be creamy, thick, and still soft, reminiscent of soft-serve ice cream. However, be careful not to eat it all before freezing it!
Storing Your Delicious Creation
While there are specific containers made specifically for storing ice cream, I personally use a loaf pan wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap. This ensures that the ice cream remains protected from freezer burn and does not absorb any unwanted odors.
Image: Black Currant Ice Cream
I hope you are enticed to try this blackcurrant ice cream. It truly is a flavor sensation. And don’t worry if you don’t have access to black currants; this recipe works equally well with raspberries and blackberries. So, why not treat yourself to a taste of luxury and indulge in this delightful homemade ice cream? Remember, BDK Restaurant is always here to help you satisfy your culinary cravings.