Black currants, long popular in Europe and Britain, deliver one of the most nutrient-packed food sources on earth along with a list of health benefits. They carry double the antioxidants of blueberries and four times the amount of vitamin C as oranges.
Many health foods and drinks – Ribena being the best known – in the United Kingdom use these berries. Black currant tartness makes them a perfect blend with other fruits, especially in jams and juices.
To learn many other interesting facts about Black Currants, check out the website blackcurrantfoundation.co.uk
Recipes from the farm
Black Currant Shortbread Bars
Try this delicious recipe. It’s a favourite of ours.
Ingredients for the crust and streusel topping:
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 tsp table salt
• 2 large egg yolks
• 3 cups flour
Ingredients for the black currant topping:
• 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen black currants
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1. Line the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 metal baking pan with parchment paper or foil.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together butter and sugar with spoon or hand mixer; add salt and egg yolks and mix well. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
3. Remove half of the crust mixture and press into the lined pan. Set the unused portion of the crust aside. Place the pan in the freezer while the oven preheats to 325 degrees F.
4. While the oven is preheating and the crust is chilling start on the black currant topping. Combine black currants and sugar (add half a jar of Spread if you wish) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool while the crust bakes.
5. Once the oven is preheated, remove the crust from the freezer and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until the sides are lightly browned. Then remove from the oven, and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Spread the black currant topping, and sprinkle the leftover crust mixture on top. Place the bars near the top of the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the streusel is lightly browned.
Allow the bottom of the pan to cool completely before taking the bars out of the pan. Remove the bars by grabbing the parchment paper or foil. Then cut into 24 even bars. Keep the bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze to enjoy later.
Black Currant Thumbprint Cookies
Kids will love helping out with these delicious cookies.
• 1 cup (250 ml) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 3 large egg yolks
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp cornmeal (optional)
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/4 cup walnuts or almonds, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup of Black Currant Premium Full Berry Spread
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. With electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until smooth.
3. Combine flour, cornmeal and salt and add to butter mixture until blended. Shape teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and roll in chopped nuts.
4. Place cookies 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on prepared baking sheets. Press centres of cookies down with your thumb and bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden.
5. While warm, fill thumbprint centre of each cookie with little dollops of spread. For chewier cookies, fill centres with jam before baking.
Black Currant Cheesecake
This is a delicious dessert to serve at any time, especially in the summer months.
• 150g digestive biscuits
• 50g Amaretti biscuits or biscotti (almond)
• 100g melted butter
• 300g black currants, fresh or frozen
• 2 Tbsp Black Currant Premium Full Berry Spread
• 5 Tbsp vanilla (or caster sugar
• 300g white chocolate (Lindt is my favourite!)
• 250g Mascarpone cheese
• 250g cream cheese
• 300ml 35% whipping cream
You will need:
• 23cm (9in) spring-form cake tin, lightly buttered
1. Whiz the biscuits in a food processor to make fine crumbs.
2. Mix with melted butter and then press into the base of a 9 inch springform pan and smooth with back of a spoon. Chill in the fridge.
3. Put the topping ingredients into a pan and heat gently until syrupy. Leave to cool.
4. For the filling, melt the chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water, then leave to cool slightly.
5. In a mixing bowl, beat together the mascarpone, cream cheese, double cream until smooth. Whisk in the chocolate until thick.
6. Briefly fold half of the black currant topping into the cream cheese mixture so it makes a ripple effect, but doesn’t turn it purple. Spoon into the cake tin and chill in fridge until set.
7. Transfer to cake stand and spoon over the remaining black currant topping allowing the juice to drizzle over the whole cheesecake.
Recipe from bbcgoodfoodshow.com
Lime and Black Currant Cheesecake
A tangy dessert that will please your guests.
• 150g Black Currant berries, fresh or frozen
• 275g caster sugar
• 175g hobnob biscuits
• 60g unsalted butter, melted
• zest of 1 lime
• juice of 2 limes
• 600g cream cheese, softened
• 175ml sour cream
• 2 whole eggs, 1 extra egg yolk
You will need:
• 20cm non-stick springform tin, base lined with baking parchment
1. Preheat the oven to 150C (300 degrees F).
2. Place the black currants, 75g sugar and 1 Tbsp water in a small saucepan and heat gently for 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft but retains its shape, and is sitting in a pool of syrup.
3. Transfer half the black currants to a sieve with most of the juice, and press through a sieve into a bowl, discarding the solids in the sieve.
4. Set aside both the pan of remaining black currants and bowl of puree and leave to cool until needed.
5. Place the biscuits in a food processor and pulse until crushed. Add the butter and process again until combined.
6. Press the crumb mixture over the base and refrigerate until needed.
7. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese gently until smooth, then slowly add the sour cream, remaining 200g sugar, eggs, lime juice and zest. The mixture should now be smooth and thick.
8. Scatter the black currants evenly from the pan over the crumb base and pour the cream cheese filling on top. Add drops of the black currant puree and swirl lightly with a knife to achieve a marbled effect.
9. Bake for 1 hour until firm to the touch. Leave to cool at room temperature and refrigerate until ready to serve with any remaining black currant coulis.
Recipe from blackcurrantfoundation.co.uk
Black Currant Lemon Buns
Ooey Gooey Good
• 4 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup white sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 pkg. quick-rise yeast
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1 Tbsp cinnamon
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup butter
• 2 eggs
• 3 Tbsp melted butter
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 1/2 cups black currants, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1. Combine 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup white sugar, salt and undissolved yeast in a large bowl.
2. Heat milk, water and half cup of butter or margarine over low heat to 120-130 degrees F or until the butter is melted. Add this to the dry ingredients, beating either by hand or 2 minutes at medium speed using mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of flour and eggs. Beat at high speed or by hand for approximately 2 minutes. Add enough flour to make a stiff batter (it may be a little sticky). Place in a large bowl which has been oiled and cover. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.
3. Turn mixture onto a floured board or counter, knead it for about 2 minutes, then cut the dough ball into two equal amounts. Roll each one into a 9 inch by 12 inch rectangle. Brush each one with melted butter. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the buttered dough. Then sprinkle with the black currants. With the long side of the dough closest to you begin to roll away from you. The currants will want to roll off so use firm pressure when rolling the dough. Stop rolling when three-quarters of the way and pull the remaining flap of the dough and fruit up to the roll and seal, then seal the ends. Cut each roll into one-inch slices using a dough cutter or sharp knife in a downward pressure and place in an 8-inch or 9-inch pan which will have the lemon curd mixture in the bottom.
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1/3 cup butter
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and zest
1. Whisk the eggs; put into a glass bowl with all other ingredients and place over a pan of boiling water. You can use a pyrex double boiler. Stir until thick and smooth. When making these buns, while the curd is still warm, put an even amount into the bottom of each of the two baking pans.
2. Before placing in the proofing oven use some melted butter to brush on the top of the buns. Place in a proofing oven at medium heat, or heat the oven to approximately 120 degrees F and place the pans in the warm oven. Let them proof for approximately 1 hour or until tripled in size filling the pan.
3. Bake at 325 – 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until the buns are a light golden brown on top. Let the pans cool for 5 minutes, then turn out the buns onto cooling racks so that the lemon mixture is on top.
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter (keep cold)
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 2 + 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 Tbsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 3/4 tsp salt
1. Place flour in large bowl, add baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
2. Rub butter into flour leaving tiny pieces of butter.
3. Add buttermilk and vanilla a little at a time.
4. Take about half out of the bowl and knead gently and form into a ball. Flatten slightly, cut in half, then half again, then in quarters, so that you have eight triangles. Place on cookie sheet. Do the same with the other half of dough.
5. Brush with a tsp of heavy cream and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of sugar.
6. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
• Serve with Black Currant Premium Full Berry Spread and whipped cream.
• You may also add a few black currant berries to the dough together with some pieces of good white chocolate.
Black Currant Liqueur (Homemade Crème de Cassis)
• 1 1/2 lb (2 cups) fresh or frozen (and thawed) black currants, washed and stemmed.
• 3 cups vodka
• 2 1/4 cups brown sugar
• 1 cinnamon stick, cracked in half
1. In a large bowl, crush the black currants with your hands, the back of a spoon, or a pastry cutter, until most of the berries are releasing juice. Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, and vodka and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a large clean mason jar and seal. You may need two jars.
2. Place the jar(s) in a warm, sunny place and let sit for a month, gently shaking the jar(s) once or twice a week.
3. After the month has passed, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. If you want a really clean liqueur, line the strainer with a cheese cloth. Catch the juice in a bowl, then pour into a bottle and enjoy! Reserve the vodka soaked fruit in your fridge or freezer and enjoy over ice cream, or in sauce.