Alright guys, time to end our little summery trip around the world with a cooling bowlful of feel good creaminess~ Todays dessert bridges the watery gaps between Central Europe and Central America with the ease and breeze many of us wish our kitchen-endeveors in mid-summer could be managed with… Ah, but I shouldn’t complain! So far, Summer in our corner of the world has actually been quite comfortable – quite unlike the Summer that was raging on while I whipped up this ice cream for the first time.
I think it was 2018 – a hellish, uninterrupted stretch of 4-5 weeks of 35-45°C in the day and not much less at night that began with a kick (in our collective behinds) from 20’ish to 40°C in one day. During that year, I’ve developed a sort of… blackcurrant-OCD. You see, just 2 days after I bought the first glorious batch of blackcurrants, the temperatures exploded into a 42°C inferno on our regions’ fruit orchards and burned the entire red- and blackcurrant crop of the year right on the spot. Since that „traumatic“ event, as some of you may have gathered from my many blackcurrant recipes already, I keep panic-pouncing on blackcurrants as soon as I see them pop up. This year, thank heavens, the berry seasons are back on their “usual” schedule and, while it’s short in the “normal” sense, blackcurrant season is in fully, plentiful swing right now. Needless to say my fingertips are turning a dark shade of purple right about now… Anyways, so we got the European part covered, let’s have a look at the Central American guest! Tonka Beans. The perfect way to add a full-bodied Marzipan blast without all those calories the stuff usually brings along. Tonka Beans are quite a commonplace in these parts – more on the French side of the border, but widely used for sweets and pastries on this side as well. I recall reading somewhere that the US had issued an import-ban on tonka beans because the coumarin they contained can be toxic. I think you’d had to ingest an unholy amount of them to actually reach dangerous levels… And I was under the impression that the ban was lifted quite a while ago – do check up on that, though, before you order a batch of Tonka beans online though. When considering the coumarin content of the bean, before you start worrying, keep in mind that 2-3 scrapes over a nutmeg grate are quite intense enough to comfortably flavor a whole loaf-tin of ice cream. Nutmeg, for that matter, can be toxic in very high doses as well, so… Let’s move on to the pleasurable result that combining the centers of two large continents will bring to our tables for the time being! Here’s what you need for a large loaf tin-ful of Honeyed Blackcurrant – Tonka Bean Parfait:
The Honeyed Blackcurrant & Tonka Bean Parfait
Just a little note in advance – you’re looking at a 2 ½ component dessert here: a creamy parfait that’s ribboned with a compotey blackcurrant-mix and, because there are never enough blackcurrants, a very-berry spoonful of macerated currants on top to serve. I made sure to let you know what goes where, though~
Oh and one more thing: to stem the currants, grab the twig by its thicker end, hold it over a bowl and gently, slowly pull it through a fork. Easy peasy~
½ Unwaxed Lemon, Zest
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
½ Vanilla Pod, seeds only
½ Tonka Bean, finely grated
1 Pinch of Salt
150g Blackcurrants, stemmed and thoroughly cleaned (these go into the parfait itself)
200g Blackcurrants (for the topping)
75g of your favorite Intense Honey
2 Tbsp Crème de Cassis (1 for the parfait, 1 for the topping)
30g White Chocolate, finely grated
200g Low Fat Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Crème Fraîche
Opt: A Dusting of freshly grated White Chocolate
Lemon Balm Leaves
Toasted Almonds in slivers or chunks
1) Start the whole shebang by lining a brownie, loaf or professional, square parfait tin with clingfilm. Or heart-shaped mini-springforms~
2) If you’re gunning for individual portions minus the knife-work, line mini springforms instead~
3) Place a small pot on medium-high heat and add the grated tonka bean, 1 tbsp of Crème de Cassis, the vanilla extract, salt, the (parfait) currants, 40g of the honey and lemon zest.
4) Bring the lot to a boil and take the pot off the heat right after 2 mins of bubble-time. Some of the berries will pop, some stay whole – keep the spoon at bay, that’s exactly what’s supposed to happen.
5) Stir in the grated white chocolate and set the pot aside to allow its contents to cool off.
6) Once the “compote” has reached room temperature, grab a large mixing bowl and whip up the cream and crème
fraîche into stiff peaks.
7) Gently fold ¾ of the berry mix into the creamy fluff with a rubber spatula.
8) Transfer the mixture into the lined containers and drop spoonfuls of the remaining “compote” on top – grab a chopstick and, with a hearty twist-and-twirl, drag blackcurraty-ribbons through the proto-parfait.
9) Cover the container and pop it into the freezer for 4-5 hours.
10) Roundabout halfway through the freezer break, pick up a bowl and whisk up the fresh vanilla seeds with the remaining Crème de Cassis and honey unti well combined.
11) Fold in the (topping) currants, cover the bowl and allow them to macerate for 2-3 hour or until the dessert bell rings~
12) To serve, cut the parfait into thick slices with the help of a heated knife and pour the marinated berries plus their delicious juices on top.
13) Go wild with almonds, chocolate and lemon balm leaves, and then…