The first time I went to France, I had blackcurrant ice cream and it was incredible. I had never heard of blackcurrants, but before long I discovered blackcurrant jam too. Any time I get a chance to travel to England or France I get both since they are hard to get in the United States. And there is something indulgent about sitting at a French cafe eating an ice cream sundae and watching the world go by on a sunny day. Read more about how to make this ice cream and enjoy it on a warm summer day.
Blackcurrants have a short season. Locally I have only ever seen them at the Farmer's Market. This year I discovered them at the local grocery store and bought a few to experiment with. This recipe can also be made with frozen black currants. For this recipe I used frozen blackcurrants, because a friend gifted me with a bag and I knew immediately what I would do with them - ICE CREAM!
How to Make Ice Cream
Ice cream is one of the best parts of summer, so why not learn to make it at home. There are different times of ice cream, and this recipe is for French style ice cream. French style is ice cream made with egg yolks. This type of ice cream has 5 basic ingredients:
- Egg Yolks
- Heavy Cream
- Whole Milk
- Flavoring of your choice
In this case the flavoring is black currant puree. If you don't have black currants you can also make this with another fruit puree of your choice, like strawberries or raspberries.
The ice cream starts with a custard base. The egg yolks add a rich flavor. They also make the ice cream creamier, smoother because they act as an emulsifier. The tricky part with making this type of ice cream is correctly tempering the eggs. If the hot liquid is added to the eggs too quickly you can end of with scrambled eggs. So add the hot milk-cream mixture to the eggs a little add a time, using a ladle. When cooking the custard cook on medium or medium-low heat whisking constantly.
Don't let the custard boil. The resultant custard will be somewhat grainy. The custard is cooked until it is 175 degrees F, then poured through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. The strainer is used to catch any egg solids.
The custard is initially cooled over an ice bath and then refrigerated for at least 4 hours to ensure it is thoroughly chilled for the ice cream machine. But the longer you can allow the ice cream to chill, the better. I recommend overnight.
How Make the Fruit Puree
The goal for the free puree is just to cook the fruit enough to break it down and easy to mix into the ice cream. Just enough sugar and water are added to help the fruit cook. For the black currants, you only want to cook them until the fruit pops and is thickened. Because of the natural pectin in the black currants the puree thickens quickly. Allow the puree to cool completely and then store in the refrigerator until ready to make the ice cream. You should have about 3/4 cup of puree.
How to Churn the Ice Cream
I use the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker to make ice cream. I make ice cream every 4-6 weeks during the summer so this model perfect. The instructions say to freeze the bowl in the freezer for 24 hours before making ice cream, but I think it works better if it is frozen for at least 48 hours before making ice cream.
If you plan to make ice weekly, then you may want to get a self-refrigerating machine. These models contain a compressor and don't require freezing the container before making the ice cream.
When you're ready to make the ice cream, taste the ice base with the fruit puree mixed in. You should like the taste at this point. Depending on the taste profile you want, consider adding a little more sugar or a pinch of salt before churning it.
Once added to the ice cream maker it will take about 30 minutes for the ice cream to reach the right texture. It should be creamy, thick, and still soft; very similar to soft-serve ice cream. Be careful not to eat it all before you freeze it.
How to Store the Ice Cream
There are containers made specifically for storing ice cream, but I use a loaf pan and wrap it in several layers of plastic wrap to protect it from freezer burn and collecting any odor.
I hope you try this ice cream. It is so good. And if you don't have black currants, this recipes works with raspberries and blackberries too.
Black Currant Ice Cream
Ice Cream Base
- 1 cup (242 grams) whole milk
- 2 cups (480 grams) heavy cream
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) white granulated sugar
- 5 (100 grams) egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Black Currant Puree
- 6 ounces (170 grams) fresh black currants
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
Ice Cream Base
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl near the stove. The finished custard will be poured through the strainer.
- In a 4-quart non-reactive heavy saucepan combine the milk, the heavy cream and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Warm the milk cream mixture over medium low heat until small bubbles from at the edges of the pan.
- In a medium bowl combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and salt and whisk together into the egg yolks are lighter in color. Use a ladle to slowly the warm milk-cream mixture to the egg-sugar mixture whisking constantly as to temper the eggs. Continue until half the milk-cream mixture has been added.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk-cream mixture and cook over medium stirring constantly with a heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon until the custard reaches 175 degrees F and slightly thickened. Do not let the custard boil or will have a grainy texture.
- Strain the custard into the bowl. Place the bowl in an ice bath until it is room temperature. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the custard for at least 4 hours until completely chilled. Overnight is best.
- This recipe makes 4 1/2 cups of custard.
Black Currant Puree
- Combine the black currants, sugar and water in a 2-quart nonreactive saucepan. Cook the fruit on medium heat until the berries have popped and the mixture has thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Scrape it into a small container with a lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
Making the Ice Cream
- Combine 2/3 of the black currant puree and the custard and whisk. Taste the custard and determine if it needs more sugar or a pinch of salt. At this point the custard should be good enough to east.
- Churn the custard in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop the soft ice cream into a large bowl and swirl in the remaining black current puree. Place the ice cream into freezable container and freeze for about 4 hours.
- Serve itself or with whipped cream and fresh fruit.