Red currants are obviously making up for the lack of apples this year. In fact there are apples (which makes my Grandpa super-happy) but just a bit here and there (and mostly on the ground…), nothing like the mega-apple-year-of-2014! More on the sour side than sweet, these berries are something of an exclusivity of summer – you can hardly come by them in any other season, even frozen.
We’ve picked quite a lot of black currants (which I abhor, I’m sorry!) too, plus gooseberries and raspberries. So you can imagine I’ve been busy baking all sorts of berry cakes and my Mother’s been freezing the berries and also ‘grinding’ them with sugar to make berry varenye (jam) without the act of varenye (boiling, cooking) 🙂
I cannot say that red currants bake perfectly as they have all these seeds and they tend to become quite a sticky mass in a cake. But they definitely make a very different cake, sweet & sour. Here are two recipes that were more successful than the others I used (or were just lucky to get pictured before being eaten) and I would like to share them with you. Although neither was actually supposed to contain red currants, I think that both were pretty nice with this zesty berry.
A year ago – Good White Sourdough Bread
Two years ago – Italian Delicacies a la Russe
Three years ago – Summer Berries
Coconut Raspberry Bread adapted from www.twopeasandtheirpod.com and turned into Coconut Red Currant Bread will make an addictive super-sweet and moist berry cake! For the entire recipe follow the link.
My changes: apparently used red currants instead of raspberries (which are a bit lingering to ripen this summer), added less salt, cow milk instead of almond milk, sunflower oil instead of melted coconut oil and omitted coconut extract. I made a smaller amount of the glaze, adding flake coconut instead of coconut extract.
Remarks: I guess this cake will get super-coconutty with all the coconut extract and the almond milk but even without these it was undoubtedly coconut 🙂
Result: The cake tastes almost like those tvorozhny keks (cottage cheese cakes) that I would love to reproduce one day. And yet it doesn’t contain any tvorog! Very dense and yet moist, with a wonderful coconut flavour!
Don’t be surprised by these Christmas bunnies 🙂 It’s just that the cake travelled to the north of St Petersburg, to a perfect cottage with a perfect garden and a perfect kitchen (my favourite part!), to visit my Mother’s friend. And that X-mas plate was the host’s choice for serving the cake in this kitchen full of light:
My Very Best Blueberry Coffeecake adapted from www.fantasticalsharing.com and turned into a Pretty Good Red Currant Coffeecake. Will make a large soft cake with sweet oat crumble (streusel) and berries. Visit the original website to see the recipe.
My changes: Used cardamom instead of cinnamon for the topping and sunflower oil instead of shortening / coconut oil for the batter. I decided to add more sugar as my berries were quite sour but less vanilla extract. Instead of lemon I used orange zest and, again, red currants instead of blueberries and raspberries / apricots. I baked my cake in a round silicone pan longer than 50 minutes.
Remarks: This recipe will require some time and effort as you have to mount the egg whites. Unfortunately the topping diminishes the boosting effect these egg whites bring to the cake (the top sank a bit + the berries sank to a separate layer close to the bottom) but overall the cake was very soft and crumbly. The colour is brownish (because of the brown sugar and the yolks).
Result: A cake that has very ‘country’ looks 🙂 and a rustic taste too because of the oats and the brown sugar. Lovely!
August – time for spinning cobwebs!