Cassis (full name crème de cassis) is a liqueur made from black currants. It might be best known as the ingredient that creates Kir when added to champagne or white wine. Here it adds a subtle, deep-fruit undertone to a light-fruit ice.
Makes about 6 cups
Enough watermelon to make 4 cups of puree
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1/3 cup cold water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup crème de cassis (black-currant liqueur), plus more poured over the top of each serving
Cube and seed the watermelon. Puree using a blender or food processor using enough to make 4 cups.
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and the ½ cup of water. Slowly bring to a boil. Boil for 7 to 8 minutes, until a little of the sugar syrup can be formed into a soft ball when dropped into a glass of ice water.
In another small saucepan, add the 1/3 cup cold water and sprinkle the gelatin over the top to soften. Stir the gelatin mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until it’s fully dissolved. Stir the dissolved gelatin into the sugar syrup; cool slightly.
Combine the gelatin mixture and the pureed watermelon. Mix thoughly. Stir in the crème de cassis and freeze until firm.
Remove the watermelon from the freezer. Let it thaw a few minutes; it will become easier to work with. Break the watermelon ice into chunks and puree in a blender or food processor in batches until the ice is smooth and slushy but not liquefied. In the container you want to serve it, refreeze the ice as soon as it becomes slushy. Keep frozen until ready to serve.
Top each serving with a pour of cassis, if desired.
–Adapted from Cold Cuisine by Helen Hecht (New York, Atheneum Publishers, 1981)