Red Currants have a special place in my heart, they remind me of my grandmother and her long row of currant bushes behind her country house. Leafy bushy shrubs were planted along the left side of her farm style garden, alternating with delicious yellow apple trees. When in season bushes were abundantly covered with little red fruits, clusters hanging all over, resembling pretty earrings.
To freeze currants, we'd have to separate berries from the stems, simply by running a fork through each cluster, little red berries came falling down into the bowl, one followed by the whole bunch, like a happy family. I remember this so vividly as my last Summer at my grandmother's I spent hours holding the fork in one hand and red currant clusters in another, separating berries from the stem. Faster than picking berry by berry still this was a time consuming process, even though totally worth it. Once berries are frozen you can use them in off season months to make one of a kind refreshing desserts that everyone loves.
Another thing that we made from currants was red currant jam. I can't even tell you how much I miss it, especially at Christmas time when it is time to make Linzer cookies or my mom's yellow cookie stick sandwiches, tartness of the jam compliments the sweet cookie in such magical way, especially if you leave sandwiched cookies stand for several days. Flavors blend together, moisture from the jam soften a cookie a little and once you bite into the cookie it simply melts in your mouth.
One of my grandmother's specialties to make from red currants was also Red Currant Syrup. Nectar derived from the red berries was used to make a tart syrup that we used to make drinks. Throughout the whole year we used it flavor soda water, or just plain water. I don't remember ever drinking soda at my grandparents' house
Here in Pennsylvania I had only seen red currants once, years ago, they were packaged in super mini containers, maybe a 1cup total, priced at sky high $6. Knowing that once a long time ago I could swim in the pool of red currants at my grandmother's house I realized some things just can't be bought.
For this particular recipe I bought currants frozen at a Russian Market. Dessert came out just as I've imagined, moist, sweet/tart and most importantly full of Summer.
Red Currants Meringue Cake
- Whisk together flour, corn meal and baking powder, set aside
- Cream together butter and powdered sugar, add egg yolks and beat until smooth and pale in color, add vanilla
- Alternatively on low speed add milk and flour mixture, and stir just until combined
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan
- Beat 3 egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm but moist peaks are formed
- In a medium size bowl stir together red currants powdered sugar and corn starch
- Gently fold the meringue into the currants
- Evenly spread the filling on top of the cake batter
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 -40 minutes, until meringue is golden brown and cake is baked in the middle.
- If the cake isn't baked in the center(it is not set, this can happen especially around the center of the pan, center appears to be moving when you move the pan) yet but meringue is golden brown, cover cake loosely with aluminum foil to prevent meringue getting too brown and bake for additional 5 minutes
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from the pan
- Let cool to room temperature and enjoy
Are you ready for more Berry Recipes? Check this out! I emailed few of my old blogging friends and reached out to few new ones and look what came out of it. Berrylicous.