yes: i am going on week three of baking with currants. there are (or were) kind of a lot of them around here. thus my freezer still holds a couple of large zip-locks filled with all manner of currant, despite the fact that i’ve made this a couple of times, plus a currant buckle more times than i can count (am still tweaking it). but even if you don’t have bags of them in your freezer, or are just a currant-hater (truth be told: i used to be . . . ), i think it’s fair to say that this crumb-topped shortbread bar merits a trip to the farmers’ market and an about-face re: any negative opinions you might be harboring about currants. the combo of the uber-tart currant jam, mellowed and sweetened over the stovetop, spread thickly over the crisp brown sugar shortbread base and topped with large buttery crumbs is prize-worthy.
you would be correct in thinking that “making red currant ice cream” has not been atop my to-do list for an extended period of time. in fact, i am not exaggerating when i say that it had never even crossed my mind to make currant ice cream. however, the currant bushes in my garden were literally drooping under the weight of the berries and i think it is safe to say that i probably harvested (and froze) several pounds. and – big surprise – all that harvesting and freezing got me thinking about just how those currants might make their way into some sweet treats.
i know this sounds like hyperbole, but these fried hand are truly extraordinary. and that’s hardly a surprise. we’re talking fried dough here, peeps, of course they are amazing. and fried dough filled with lightly sweetened berries and a hefty dusting of confectioners’ sugar? i mean, duh: you will basically lose your mind when you eat these. i had been planning on making baked hand pies for at least a year now, and as you can see here, i have finally done so. but the idea of making fried hand pies came to me quite recently when i stumbled upon this.
i’m going to make a sweeping generalization here, and you may not like it, so brace yourself: the world is broken into two camps – the pop tart camp and the pie camp. now, you may have thought the two camps were cake and pie, and you wouldn’t be wrong exactly. but being someone who came late to the pie party (i was decidedly very un-pie and very pop tart/cake until more recently than i care to admit) i am here to tell you that there is a bridge between the camps, and that bridge . . . is hand pies.
i’m not going to lie: this shortcake recipe was completely and totally a delicious accident. and by “accident,” i do not mean i mistakenly put together a few ingredients and, voila, i was looking at shortcakes. no, what i mean is that it was born of a nerdy, research-filled foray into the world of biscuits, without a care in the world about shortcakes. but, as many of us know, the two are inextricably linked (essentially a biscuit becomes a short cake with the addition of sugar). and with my nose deep in a 1947 general foods corporation recipe pamphlet, learning a variety of tips and tricks for making biscuits, my eye caught the column of “delicious variations,” and, lo and behold, delicious variation number two was “fruit shortcakes”