The blackcurrant is maybe the most laid-back berry in the garden. They do not all ripen at the same time and you can easily leave them hanging for a while even when they are ripe. Birds usually do not have such an appetite for these big black berries. You might not want to pop a blackcurrant in your mouth just like that. The distinct taste makes it more suitable for cooking and baking. I like to combine the blackcurrant with other distinct flavors. The bold flavoured berry combines really well with some more outspoken ingredients. This toasted fig leaf crème brûlée with blackcurrants is a great example! I infused some roasted fig leaves in the milk for the crème brûlée. Roasting them under the grill, brings out the slightly nutty, grassy flavor with a hint of coconut.
toasted fig leaf creme brûlée with blackcurrants
Dessert (serves 4)
5 fig leaves
125 g (1 scant cup) blackcurrants + extra for garnish
110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
20 g (2 tbsp) cornflour
200 ml (¾ cup +2 tbsp) + whole milk
2 egg yolks
125 ml (½ cup) heavy cream
140 g (3/4 cup) crème fraîche
50 g (1/4 cup) light brown sugar
Also needed 4 ramekins of ± 150 ml
crème brûlée burner (or use the oven grill)
Preheat the oven grill to the highest setting. Place the fig leaves on a baking tray and roast them on a high shelf under the grill until they shrivel slightly and brown spots appear. Turn every few minutes. The leaves should not char.
In a pan stir the 50 g (¼ cup) of the caster sugar with the blackcurrants cook until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have popped. Rub through a sieve and divide among the ramekins.
Keep 2 tbsp milk aside. On medium heat, bring the rest of the milk with the roasted fig leaves and cream to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately.
Preheat the oven to 160 °C. In a heat proof bowl, whisk the the rest of the caster sugar, cornstarch and 2 tbsp milk until smooth in a heatproof bowl. Beat in the egg yolks. Sieve the milk and while stirring, mix into the egg mixture
Mix in the crème fraîche (add some extra sugar if you like things sweet) and carefully pour the mixture into the ramekins on top of the blackcurrant. Place the ramekins in an oven dish and fill up to 2/3 of the ramekins with boiling water. Bake the crème brûlées for 30-40 minutes until they are set but still a bit wobbly in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack. Leave in the fridge for another ± 3 hours to cool completely and set. Sprinkle with the rest of the sugar and melt the sugar with a burner or under the oven grill.