|Chocolate and blackcurrant torte|
This year has been a brilliant year for fruit. So much so that I have to look for another freezer. Most berries will freeze really well and can be picked straight off the bush into bags. I never bother to wash fruit unless the branches have been trailing on the ground. When berries are frozen they are much easier to top and tail as often a good rub will get the bits off.
I used give away my blackcurrants but not any more. I discovered that they are absolutely amazing cooked in porridge. In the middle of winter a handful into the pot gives a lovely acidic kick. They are also full of vitamin C and have 6 times the antioxidants of blueberries. When I gave them away and then ran out at some point after Christmas I was reduced to buying blueberries. They are so bland in comparison.
You can also cook them down to make puree. This can then be frozen in small quantities for using as a natural food colouring. I don't add any sugar so you do need to freeze it. All it takes is a good heavy bottomed pan and a bit of patience until the berries cook down. Then push it through a sieve.
I add either fresh or frozen berries to the porridge as it's cooking. For the picture above I also added some of the puree to give the colour. Serve with some honey and either milk or yoghurt.
To make this blackcurrant cake. I used 200g butter, sugar and flour and 3 large eggs (or 4 supermarket size large). My hen/duck eggs would fall into an XL category. Add 2 tablespoons of blackcurrant puree. If you want a stronger colour you will need to reduce the amount of egg and increase the flour or the mix will be too wet. Bake at 170C fan for about 30 minutes
To make the buttercream use a tablespoon of puree and add a big knob of softened butter and icing sugar and milk until you get the right consistency. It's much easier to start with the wet ingredients and add dry rather than vice versa.
The frozen puree can also be used to make ice cream, sweetened to serve as a coulis or as an addition to a sauce for game later in the year.
Frozen blackcurrants can also be used to make creme de cassis or cordial when there is a dearth of fresh fruit that is not imported from the other side of the globe.
For the chocolate and blackcurrant torte recipe pictured above.
3 large eggs
75g good quality cocoa powder or 150g dark chocolate (I used cocoa powder for cake above)
100g ground almonds
50g self raising flour
blackcurrants (a good handfull)
Melt butter and chocolate or cocoa powder. Separate eggs. Beat yolks and sugar. Whisk whites. Combine all folding in the egg white last. Stir in the ground almonds, fold in sieved flour and add blackcurrants. Bake in a spring form tin at 160C fan for 40 mins.
So don't waste any glut. And if you can't be bothered with all of the above at least take up Firehouse Bakery's offer and trade your glut for cakes or bread.