When life gives you currants.... or when you stumbled across them at the farmer's market, then I say make ice cream. Currant season is Wisconsin is very short, but well worth the splurge and the wait. Currants comes in a variety (black, red, champagne), depending on the variety determines on where they fall in the sweet or tartness factor. For example champagne currants are a little sweeter than red ones. For those who have not encountered them outside of their incorporation into scones, currants fall close to gooseberries in terms of flavor.
Although I love all varieties, my favorite for ice cream are the tart little red ones. You could simply add them to your ice cream base, but they can freeze to be tart frozen balls. Let me give you an alternate suggestion. This year I did a little experimentation: I roasted the currants. My line of thinking, if you can roast cherries for ice cream, why not currants? It is not a far fetched line of thinking, as currant ice cream reminds me of tart cherry ice cream. Due to their more delicate nature, I made some adjustments. First, I coated a cup of fresh red currants with a teaspoon of sugar. Then I roast for around at 450 F for 15-20 minutes. I then dropped the oven to around 350ish (my oven can be temperamental about temperature) for 10 minutes. Illustrated below the before and after roasting experience - and proof there are multiple uses for pie plates.
As seen in Lazy Day Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, I used the Series Eats' 30-Minute Philadelphia-Style Ice Cream, because this is my ice cream base of the summer. It's easy and the results are delicious.
The recipe is simple. Whisk together the following ingredients until sugar completely dissolves:
- 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 1 cup whole milk, chilled
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons not-peaty Scotch
Then you have have a few choices. You can use a blender to incorporate the roasted currants or you can mash them and add them in the last few minutes of the churn process (see your ice cream maker's manufacturers suggested churn time). I decided to blend them, which created a very pink, slightly tart ice cream. Note, like other homemade berry ice creams, such as strawberry, blackcap, blackberry, etc, you will encounter seeds. Despite that, the cream paired with the slight tartness of the currants to me is a perfect combination. Hope you will give this little berry a chance. If your currant season has passed, remember there is always next year.