Well, here is a blast of summer. I’ve made no secret of my feeling that a weekend lunch isn’t complete without a pudding and we’ve tucked into no end of rib sticking treats appropriate to the colder months of the year. Golden syrup sponge, plum galette, apple crisp, raspberry larder pudding and a whole host of crumbles have made an appearance recently. Poking around in the freezer last weekend however I found a bag of blackcurrants which I’d picked last year and had been languishing in the icy depths since then. Whilst my surprise clearly illustrates that I am not one of those with a list detailing the exact contents of the freezer, the weight and when it was frozen etc – I was jolly pleased with my find.
Thawed and simmered briefly with sugar I mixed them with cream and yogurt and we delighted in that mouth puckering, tangy, fragrant hit that is unmistakably blackcurrant. Should you have any berries in your freezer I highly recommend making this or simply buy a bag of frozen berries – I use them all the time in the winter for various recipes.
Don’t worry if you have a few less (or more) blackcurrants – a fool is pretty forgiving and 20/30g either way won’t make much difference. Equally if you need to use a bit less cream or yogurt the end result will still be fruity and delicious.
100g caster sugar
200g double cream
200g Greek yogurt
Simmer the blackcurrants for about 10 minutes with the sugar until the fruit has broken down and the juices have become syrupy, cool. Whisk the cream until soft peaks hold, add the yogurt, mix again briefly and then swirl in the blackcurrants. Combine as much as you want – I like to seem some seams of pure blackcurrant but it is up to you. This served 4 with a bit left over for someones breakfast.
I feel jelly has been a fairly regular presence throughout my life. From children’s parties that frankly weren’t a party if there wasn’t jelly along with the Midget Gems and cocktail sausages (although ideally not in the same mouthful…) to the somewhat more sophisticated Prosecco or Pimms jellies around now. Although the jelly itself hasn’t really changed over the years I now eat it with a spoon rather than applying it directly to my face as I may have done…
Funny how something so simple still draws the oohs and aahs when brought to the table and goes down equally well with children and grown ups. Quick to make, cheap and easily zhuzzed up with summer fruits this is real a star to have up your sleeve for entertaining as the warm weather arrives particularly as it has to be made ahead to time.
I often try new flavour ideas for jelly – it is after all simply a liquid and the requisite amount of gelatine – and this is our current favourite. I’ve made this twice over half term and both times have been left with an empty plate. On the first occasion I served it with rhubarb fool, rhubarb and elderflower being extremely good friends; the second time with a few strawberries on top which had macerated for half an hour in a spoonful of sugar (as in the pictures here).
When the weather really warms up you can dispense with the gelatine and pour the apple/elderflower mix direct into ice lollies moulds for super refreshing ice pops.
Elderflower and Apple Jelly
I choose to use apple juice and add elderflower cordial as that way I get the balance of flavour I like but you could probably use a combined apple and elderflower juice if you prefer. There is a recipe for elderflower cordial here, (June 2016).
850 ml apple juice (the one I buy comes in 1 litre bottles so I just drink 150ml)
150ml elderflower cordial
Juice of half a lemon
11 sheets of gelatine (I use Costa and it always works a treat)
Put approximately 300ml of apple juice in a pan and heat gently but don’t let it boil. Put the rest into a jug and mix with the elderflower cordial. Meanwhile soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water. When the apple juice is hot add the squeezed out gelatine, mix well until it has melted then add to the cold apple and elderflower, stir and pour into a 1 litre jelly mould. Let it cool then put in the fridge until set, overnight is best. Sit the mould in hot water for a minute or two and then turn out. Serves 6 easily or more with something else alongside.