Wednesday, 8 September 2010

At home (on Scilly) we have some family staples. Foods we love and can eat over and over again. And they never taste the same without the family around. Spaghetti Carbona made with just spaghetti, bacon and scrambled egg. "Chicken creme fraiche" chicken, creme fraiche, lemons, spring onions. Lemon Lapis, that's meringue, lemon, cream and condensed milk. And finally Bryher Stores' Blackcurrent Pie. It doesn't need to be served with anything...just the pie. Crumbly sweet pastry covered in caster sugar and then a sticky jammy blackcurrant filling that sticks to the back of your spoon (and your mouth if we've heated it up for too long.)

Bryher Stores is closing at the end of the month and the blackcurrant pies will be no more. And it feels like a chunk of our childhood is over. It was the first place I tried an ice cream on a stick (a Feast!). It was 40p and I thought it was the most amazing, modern invention ever. And I've eaten copious amounts of sweets from its shelves my favourites being fruit pastilles. Bryher Stores was the only place that seemed to sell blackcurrant fruit pastilles. There's nothing more likely to put me in a bad mood than buying standard fruit pastilles to find 6 greens, 4 yellows and one orange. But there they sold 11 blackcurrant pastilles the way it should be.

So imagine my excitement this week in Tesco when there, nestled between the Jelly Tots and the Opal Fruits (don't make me call them Starburst) I found a perfectly silver wrapped packet of blackcurrant pastilles.

But "fat girl in a wedding dress" popped into my head and I decided to make my own. "Much healthier" I decided jollily as i skipped down the aisles. "I have all those blackcurrants in the freezer I stole from my friends garden when I knew he was out. They will be even better and healthier."

So were they better? Find out at the end of the blog.....

Blackcurrant Pastilles (makes 30 or so).......

250g/8oz blackcurrants

75g/3oz caster sugar

4 gelatine leaves

extra caster sugar

Boil the sugar and the fruit in a pan for a few minutes until soft and syrupy and the whole house smells like Ribena. (Don't worry if they have little stalks on.)

Leave to cool then push through a sieve. Keep the juice and throw the pulp away. Soften the gelatine leaves in cold water until floppy. Stir the floppy leaves into the juice and stir until dissolved. Pour into a china baking tray. (So it's about 1-2cm thick).

Chill overnight. Turn out on to a board.

Cut into little squares and dust with caster sugar.

Answer: OK so these were tasty and would be nice with coffee after a meal. BUT the sugar on the outside turns syrupy quite quickly so you have to do it just before you serve. And although the blackcurrant taste was delicious and fresh...I'd still pop down Tescos and buy a tube.


  1. Haha, I love how you call them Opal Fruits. I do too :D Must be getting old ;)

    Those pastilles look delish. I'm so desperate for one I can almost taste it!

    Katie xox

  2. LOve the Blog, so cute! I run a vintage boutique in Falmouth and am looking working on a new vintage lifestyle blog. Get in touch if you fancy guest blogging, looking for some retro recipe Inspiration! Cheers Emmax

  3. Thanks Katie...I wont back down!

    Emma, I would love to guest blog, thanks very much! Let me know on email what you want me to write about and when. x

    Thanks Joy! xxxx

  4. Love this! You are so motivated to be able to recreate healthy fruit pastilles! xx