I’m going to be honest. I’m really, really wiped out right now. Trevor and I spent the better part of this weekend scrubbing some other person’s dog’s hair off the floors (and out of the vents, and out of the fridge) and trolling home depot like zombies and sanding the walls of our new apartment. And for the few hours I wasn’t doing that, I was thinning carrots (and pruning tomato suckers and ripping up dead peas). Which was actually kind of satisfying, but still exhausting. My feet are kind of tingly on the bottom because they’re not used to being used so much, and my knees are bruised and some wall-washing muscles in my arms I didn’t know existed are quite tired. The reason I’m whining to you about all this is not just to be heard, though. It’s just, I made you some red currant crumb bars, and I want to tell you about them, but I really can’t think of how to write a coherent and/or clever sentence about baking right now. So bear with me as I stream-of-consciousness blog about them.
Red currants. They have a short season, and it’s right now. They’re super pretty and quite sour and they burst in your mouth like gushers when you bite into them. I bought four bushes of my own this year but I only got five measly currants off of them. When I looked it up, I found out that currants, like raspberries, bear on second year canes, of which there weren’t many this year, so at least there’s hope for next year. Except that our new apartment doesn’t seem to get much sun. Some serious landscaping may be in order, although I think cutting down all the trees is probably a violation of our lease. Maybe we should try and find those sketchy contractor guys who snuck into our yard last year and hacked off a bunch of branches in the dark with hand saws. Sorry, my stream of consciousness got derailed.
Because I didn’t have any homegrown currants, I bought some. Last year, I made red currant chutney and red currant meringue pie and homemade cassis with my currant bounty. They were all delicious. This year, I went simple, and made crumb bars. They were also delicious. They’re a good intro to currants, if you’re not sold on them yet, because they mostly taste like coffee cake crumbs with a thin layer of tangy, bright red fruit. Give ’em a go. Also, let me know if you’re making anything this year with currants! I still don’t see very many interesting recipes for them around the web, so I’d love a little inspiration.Print
Red Currant Crumb Bars
Sweet homemade crumb bars with a tangy red currant filling. An easy summer dessert.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
- Yield: 16 1x
- Category: Dessert
- 1/2 c. plus 2/3 c. sugar
- 3 cups fresh red or white currants, washed and removed from their stems
- 1 TBS cornstarch
- 2 c. flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/3 sticks salted butter (5.3 oz.), cut into cubes and chilled
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 8×8 or an 11×7 inch cake pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, gently stir together 1/2 cup of the sugar, the currants, and the cornstarch, until currants are coated with the sugar mixture.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar, the flour, the baking powder, and the salt until evenly combined. Add the chilled butter cubes and the egg, and use a pastry cutter or a fork to blend the butter and egg into the flour. When finished, dough will be crumbly with pea-sized chunks of butter.
- Press 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan. Top with the currants. Clump the remaining dough together into a loose ball, then crumble it over the top of the currant mixture. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until currants are bubbly and top of crust is golden brown.
These sound yummy and your photos are stunning!
These look great, but what the hell, night contractors???? That sounds awful! Good luck with next years crop.
angelica | table twenty eight says
I, for one, am a fan of your stream-of-consciousness blogging (and impressed with your efforts mid-zombie state – it makes for very enjoyable reading :)
Anyway, sometimes thinking’s over-rated!
Carlinne @Cook with 2 Chicks says
Absolutely beautiful photos!
A Renaissance Glow says
The photos had me drooling let alone the description of the crumble, I’ll have to try this!
Beautiful, as always, Katie! I seldom find currants around here, local or no. Which is really too bad. I used to make a lovely frangipane-ish tart with blueberries and currants in a nice design on top. It was especially pretty.
Maria Nelson says
I adore currants. Sadly we do not have them readily here in stores. I don’t know why! It’s a bit heartbreaking really. Gorgeous recipe and equally gorgeous photos. Hopefully you’ll get some time to rest and recover. :)
Can you please tell me what are Red Currants exactly? :)
I’m from the South, and I’ve heard of Currants but i have never really understood what they are I mean I am assuming that they are a type of berry?
Hi Paige – Yep, currants are a type of tart berry. They are not very common in the states because it was illegal to grow them for a long time – they’re much more popular in Europe. They’re staging a small comeback here though!
wow, that’s interesting for a berry to be illegal :) great information thank you for sharing
Roxana Glenn says
It’s finally happened! Black currants are legal to grow again! They were prevented due to a really devastating disease, but they’ve dealt with that. How are your bushes doing? I have 3 and it’s taken a). few years and some transplanting to make them happy. They like the occasional spoon of coffee grounds – but then, who doesn’t? I can’t wait to try your cassis recipe (I tried to cobble together a red currant liqueur recipe, but wasn’t satisfied). I think I have enough jelly to last 3 or so years, so the crumble and the lavender currant muffins are both wonderful finds.
That’s awesome news, thank you for sharing! Our bushes are doing great, but we were away for the week that they were producing this year and missed most of the fruit. So we just transplanted one to our new house (previously they were living in my parents’ garden). It’s definitely still alive post-transplant, but a little sad looking. We’ll see how it does next year!
Lesley Adams says
This is fantastic. I double the recipe in a large pyrex pan and used a food processor to prep the dough. Everyone loved it.
Marie Higgins says
I presume this is an American recipe? Please can you translate 1 cup into weight for an amateur English cook. Thank you.
Hi Marie – Is there one ingredient in particular you are wondering about? Each one will have a different weight measure. For ingredients like flour and sugar, a quick google search should yield the conversion from cups into weight. I’m not sure for the currants, and I don’t have any on hand to weigh out, but my best guess would be that each cup would weigh about 4 oz.
Made this over the weekend and they turned out great! Great way to use red currants! Thank you for sharing this recipe, this will definitely be a summer treat for us every summer!
Hi Olga – I’m so glad you enjoyed them! My red currants are almost ripe for this year… meaning more of these bars on the horizon for me, too :-)
Hi Katie, I hate to say that I did not pick my currants last year because I did not know what to do with them other than make jam but I already have raspberry, cherry, and apple jam up to my ears so I really did not want to make more. I cannot wait to make this recipe but I’m wondering how you know when they are ripe for the year because mine still taste very sour but I thought harvest was mid July?
Hi Alison – Currants never get sweet, they are a super sour fruit! You’ll know they’re ripe when they are juicy, plump, and bright red (if it’s a red variety). Mine always ripen around this week. I hope you enjoy them this year!
Maryann Kowalsky says
Thanks for you recipe. We have two bushes of currants and this recipe is a delicious way of using the fruit. I also put some red currents into a halved peach added some brown sugar and on the grill it went. I added a little whipped cream and come up with a fast summer dessert. Enjoy the new apartment. We just relocated our son and I was happy he had someone else do the cleaning this time.
What happens to the seeds? In jelly, they get strained out but I don’t see any mention of them here. I’m going to use my currants for the first time this year! I’ve never used currants before.
I always make these with whole currants and don’t worry at all about the seeds! They have never bothered me. For this recipe, you really want the texture of the whole currants and there’s no way I know of to seed currants without straining them and turning them into juice.
Hi Katie, I grew up (in Germany )with red and black current. Now living in Australia Ican onlygethold of frozen redand black current. Do you think I could use frozen ones for your recipe. It sounds so delicious
Hi Ligi –
Yes, absolutely! When I pick our currants I freeze 80% of them and bake with them throughout the year. I use them exactly the same as I would fresh currants. Hope this turns out well for you!
Will let you know! Thanks for getting back to me so promptly
Just wondering if you could use frozen red current as that is the only way I can buy it here
Adele Spegman says
thanks for delightful recipe. I used a mix of red, champagne (white) and black currents. Wonderfully tasty, perfect pandemic treat. Adele