These little berries are outstandingly high in Vitamin C, boasting more in 6 berries than a large lemon! Long before the discovery of vitamins, their medicinal properties were widely known and harnessed. In particular blackcurrants were used as an effective treatment for sore throats. As with many of our plants and herbs, they were being grown, harvested or foraged to stock the garden pharmacy long before they had any clear culinary purpose.
A Blackcurrant Bombe is a retro freezer pudding - there is a plethora of this type of recipe to be found in cook books from the late 60’s and 70’s, when back in the day freezer cookery was all the rage! This dessert has stood the test of time because it tastes delicious, is deceptively very easy to make and is a fabulous psychedelic purple, what’s not to love! I also like the fact that all the pips are sieved out, I just can’t be doing with them. Everything is prepared in advance to go in the freezer and if I’m honest it is more of an assembly job than cooking.
You can use the basic syrup formula for all manner of berries; it would work brilliantly with blackberries and raspberries. If you find yourself with a glut and you are jammed out, then making this syrup is a good way of preserving the fruit as you can just freeze it until you need it. The syrup is lovely mixed into ice cream or yogurt. Just adjust the sugar to how sweet your fruit is and to your taste. I don’t think I can get away with claiming this is a healthy dessert, even with the Vitamin C, due to the added sugar and cream. If however you find yourself in need of a dessert recipe for some summer outdoor entertaining, then this is a versatile one to add to your repertoire.
1 lb Blackcurrants, washed.
6 oz Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Water
½ pint Double Cream
2 packs of Lincolnshire Co-op mini Strawberry and Vanilla Meringues or 6-8 meringue nests.
Put Blackcurrants, Sugar and Water in a pan, cover with lid and simmer on a gentle heat until the fruit has broken down, yielding lots of juice and the sugar has dissolved. Give it a vigorous stir and mash the berries up a bit to help it on its way.
Line a 2 pint pudding basin with a couple of long layers of cling film. You want to have enough of an overhang to be able to wrap the bombe up.
Make room in your freezer for the basin.
Break up the meringues, but not too small, you want chunks not dust and put to one side until needed
Whisk double cream to soft peak stage, cover and keep in fridge until needed.
When your berries are ready, sieve into a bowl. Discard all the pips. You should get nearly a pint of syrup. Cool and chill syrup for a couple of hours at least.
Fold ¾ of blackcurrant syrup through the whipped cream.
Fold in the broken meringue pieces.
Scoop into your lined basin.
Smooth the top, fold over the cling film to cover and put in the freezer for at least 24 hours, or use within a month.
If you are serving your Bombe within two days, chill the remaining syrup in the fridge. If you aren’t serving within two days, put the syrup in the freezer and defrost when you need it.
An hour before you want to serve it, remove the bombe from the freezer
Take out the remaining syrup from fridge or freezer; allow to come up to room temperature.
Dip the bottom of your pudding basin in a bowl of hot water to loosen it a bit.
Turn on to a serving plate and carefully remove the cling film
Put in the fridge for an hour to soften up for serving
Spoon the syrup over the top so it drips down and looks pretty.
Very nice served with a glass of crème de cassis, good company and sunshine
Sadie Hirst is a member of Select Lincolnshire and the British Society of Baking. With her Husband Russell they own RJ Hirst High Class Family Butchers in Woodhall Spa, 2016 winner of Select Lincolnshire Business of the Year. Sadie is often invited by local organisations with her talk “Off the Beeton Track”, which explores cookbooks from our past. If you would like to get in touch with Sadie, you can follow her on Twitter SadieHirst@RJHirstButchers or email firstname.lastname@example.org