August 20th, 2012
I’ve seen red currants at the farmer’s market, all glistening and gem like, but had never picked them up before. I think of them as food porn glitter, making food photography impossibly pretty (check out the gorgeous Cannelle et Vanille to see what I mean). My food photos aren’t spectacular. I’m not French (the French understand currants). Therefore I cannot purchase red currants. It’s just not allowed, I convinced myself.
But sometimes I like to break the rules.
On a recent trip to the farmer’s market, I grabbed red currants like a thief (except that I paid) and ran home to make this pie. I grabbed black currants, too. What’s the point of breaking the rules if you don’t push to see how far you can go?!
The idea for Gooey Coconut Pie with Red Currants came to me just like that. I was meant to cook with them, against all odds! But the black ones sat. Maybe I’d pushed too far. Though they are pretty in quiet way, nothing was coming to me. They didn’t inspire the way that their photogenic cousin did. (Are red currants and black currants cousins?)
I carried the black currants from the country market where I found them, to the city, and back to the country again. I started to stress. They’d go bad and I’d fail. I should have stuck with only the red ones! I’d prove myself unfit for currants.
I needed a drink.
Yes, a drink!
I dumped the currants, little stems and all, in a pot with water and sugar. I cooked them down mercilessly, waiting for them to pop and their jewel tone to seep. I wanted victory. I’d pushed it, but I’d win.
The liquid reduced, thickened, sweetened. I watched it transform into the perfect foil for tequila.
Black Currant Margaritas. That’s what I’d make.
I strained the fruit syrup, catching the black wilted skin and soggy stems. Then I mixed the stained glassy syrup with tequila, triple sec, freshly squeezed lime juice and freshly squeezed orange juice. Measuring was out of the question. I was moving too fast; it would throw me off my game. Instead, I just tasted as I went. In the end, I don’t know the proportions I used for the margarita, but they were right.
I poured the boozy elixir over ice, lots of ice, and took a sip.
Victory was mine.
His, too. (Just skip the tequila and add a little sparkling water for little ones.)
Black Currant Simple Syrup
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)
makes about 1/2 cup simple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup fresh black currants, washed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1. Place all of the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and leave at a simmer. Cook until the fruit explodes and the liquid reduces by about half.
2. Strain into a glass container. Allow to cool all the way before sealing tight and storing in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
*Note: While there is nothing in this that is unsafe for younger eaters, I recommend this starting at 12 months since it’s basically pure sugar! No matter how old your eaters, use this sparingly. A little drizzle goes a long way with young ones.
Use this syrup in a fresh, homemade margarita—no margarita mix, please (for your sake, I promise!)—and rim your glass with the Hungry Sitter’s fruity sugar. We used raspberry. Perfection.