Blackcurrant and cherry soup

2
45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 100g of blackcurrants
  • cinnamon stick, or a star anise if you prefer
  • 75g of sugar, (you may not use all of this, you may need more)
  • cassis to taste
  • brandy to taste
  • 1 pinch of vanilla paste, (a quarter of the seeds from a vanilla pod or half a teaspoon of vanilla extract will work, too)
  • 1 ripe nectarine, or peach
  • 20 cherries, dark - halved and pitted
  • 10 raspberries
  • lemon juice, squeeze of
  • edible flowers, (for decoration, optional)

Method

1
Heat the blackcurrants with 300ml of water in a small saucepan over a medium heat (there’s no need to strip them from their spindly stems)
2
Let it bubble until the fruit has collapsed and the liquid is a deep, purple-red, the colour of a good Chianti. This will take about 5 minutes
3
Drain into a bowl and press the pulp through a sieve to extract as much flavour and liquid as possible. Discard the fruit and return the liquid to the saucepan
4
Add the cinnamon stick or star anise and most of the sugar. How much sugar depends on the fruit you use and how sweet it is – start with 50g as it’s easy to add more. Add a splash of cassis and another of brandy
5
Heat the liquid until the sugar fully dissolves. Taste it, but remember that the sweetness is numbed a little when it is chilled. The fruit may be more or less tart, so it’s impossible to give more than a guide
6
Add sugar until it’s a little bit sweeter than you want it to be, let it dissolve, then remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla paste and lemon juice
7
Cut a cross in the bottom of the nectarine, cover with boiling water and leave for 2 minutes. Drain, cover with cold water, drain again and pull off the skin
8
Cut the nectarine in half and remove the stone – it will be slippery to handle but it’s worth doing. Cut into pieces that aren’t too big for a spoon
9
Add the cherries and nectarine pieces to the liquid. They will soften slightly as it cools, but not enough to make a piece of unripe fruit soft
10
Allow to cool, then place in the fridge for 30 minutes before you want to serve it. You want it to be chilled, not icy
11
Ladle artfully into bowls and dot with raspberries. Arrange flowers prettily, if using