Currant events: fresh v dried

A couple of days ago I was gifted with just over a pint of fresh currants. In researching recipes I see almost none that don't call for dried currants. My impulse of course is to just go ahead and skip the soaking step. There are a couple of things I know I would like to use them for. Any advice?

  • Posted by: pierino
  • June 25, 2012
  • 2331 views
  • 10 Comments

8 Comments

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bugbitten
bugbitten June 25, 2012

Wow, what a great problem to have! I suppose the deal would be not to have all of them burst in cooking.

How about chilled, nut-encrusted poached chicken with a curry? Or bread pudding? Yumma.

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Maedl
Maedl June 25, 2012

I am thinking of a simple, not-too-sweet yellow cake topped with a vanilla custard and the currants. Currants are so beautiful straight from the bush!

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susan g
susan g June 25, 2012

What are usually sold as currants are actually grapes, called Zante, I believe.
I have put fresh currants (real currants) in a cannoli filling, where the popped with a nice contrast to the other flavors and textures. From that, I bet they'd be great in rice pudding too, as above, all the soft creamy things.
They'd probably make a wonderful chutney type condiment too.

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pierino
pierino June 25, 2012

These are tiny red currants picked by a neighbor, and a chutney/relish condiment is exactly the direction I've been thinking of going.

Ophelia
Ophelia June 25, 2012

Black Currants, Red Currants or those little grapes called Zante Currants? I think you'll have a lot more luck finding what you're looking for if you search for the specific type.
Red Currants are more likely to be used fresh than the other two. Black Currants taste a bit like green tomatoes until cooked, which is probably why most recipes use black currant jam, jelly or syrup. Zante Currants are dried and used a lot like raisins, using fresh ones would not produce the same results as soaking them.

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Ferrettoy
Ferrettoy June 25, 2012

One of my all time favorite comfort foods is a bowl of freshly picked red currants with a little milk and sugar. Unfortunately I have only managed to find fresh currants once in the last ten years. They are excellent on a fruit tart, either alone or with other berries. I wouldn't cook them if you don't have to, but there's a German food called a "Rote Gruetze" which is basically various red berries cooked with a bit of gelatin that can be eaten over vanilla pudding or ice cream.

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Rachel Sanders
Rachel Sanders June 25, 2012

Ohhhh, I've had that dessert before! It's delicious! I've only eaten it topped with whipped cream, but it sounds like it would be incredible over ice cream.

Greenstuff
Greenstuff June 25, 2012

Your chutney/relish is a great direction. Sauce for meat. Jelly or jam. Liqueur (not to be confused with black current cassis, but also good on its own or as a cooking ingredient)..

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff June 25, 2012

Oh, and as for your fresh vs. dried question, I used to grow them and never once thought of using them dried. Your instinct to just use them without soaking is fine.

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pierino
pierino June 26, 2012

Thanks for your in put everyone. In the end I went with a Sicilian style relish with toasted pine nuts and carmelized red onion and it turned out just fine. I did a hell of a lot reading for just a pint of fresh currents. Two of my sources were Suzanne Goin and Nancy Silverton. Their recipes were almost literally identical. I would suspect plagiarism on one part but they are two well known, highly regarded LA chefs who are probably friends and perhaps share ideas. So I synthesized the two substituting the fresh currants for dried. Non c'e problema.

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