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Dulce de Grosellas

IMG_3029I don’t remember having currants – red, black, or otherwise – growing up, so I was surprised to find them in one of the older Cuban cookbooks I’d been using, Delicias de las Mesa by Maria Antonieta Reyes Gavalán.   Written in the 1920s, I came across it at the University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection.  While most other Cuban cookbooks date from the mid-fifties when everyone was only too happy to embrace cans and convenience, Gavalán’s book captures an earlier time, referencing ingredients and techniques that had fallen out of use but worth reconsidering. The book itself was so worn and frayed that it couldn’t be scanned or photocopied, so I spent most of  my time in the archives furiously taking notes before reluctantly giving it back. It was complete coincidence when my aunt Marta called from New Orleans to tell me her friend had given her a copy of the book that I could have.

IMG_3017When I finally picked it up a couple of months later, it was even more fragile than the CHC copy. Nevertheless, some books are more alive than others and this one had a lot to say – fading dedications and notes in the margins, Cuban gossip columns from the 1940s, scribbled family recipes tucked into the pages alongside forgotten memorial cards. I kept it at hand during my book research but was careful to only consult it when I had all my questions together because very time I opened it, a small part of it would disappear into the ether.

IMG_3028

I brought it out again last week when I remembered her dulce de grosellas recipe.  Currants are only available a few short weeks in the summer, so I can’t stop myself from picking up a few pints every time I see them. Whatever I don’t use, gets packed up and stored in the freezer to be rationed out during the year – though I become stingier with them as my stockpile dwindles down as if they were actual rubies and not just ruby-coloured. It seemed fitting that the book I’d invested so much time in preserving would show me how to jar up a little bit of the summer.

IMG_3059Dulce de Grosellas/Red Currant Jam

Like most vintage cookbooks, the recipes are written in short descriptive paragraphs rather than ingredients and steps.  I used to find this frustrating but now I actually prefer it.  With just a general sense of what needs to happen, it’s easier to adapt.  I consulted this David Leibovitz post when I needed to fill in some of the blanks. Most recipes call for equal parts purée and sugar. I like to start with a 2:1 purée to sugar ratio then adjust the sweetness to taste. Once the currants are tender they can be cooked down with sugar or passed through a food mill to produce a more preserve-like texture.

4 cups red currants, stemmed and rinsed

2 to 3 cups sugar

Combine the currants with 4 cups of water in a large saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the currants are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the sugar immediately or pass the berries with their cooking water through a food mill to create a purée.  Return the mixture to a fast boil for 5 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook until it reaches the desired consistency, 15 to 20 additional minutes.

Pour into sterilized jars, allow to cool completely, and seal.

Makes about 3 cups

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34 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hi! Love your blog and since I’ve been teaching myself how to cook, wonder if you have an empanada recipe? My mother made the most amazing empanadas de anis….and I am trying to duplicate it, she also made her buenellos with anis too.
    My best,
    Anita

    25 August 2014
  2. Looks delicious!

    26 August 2014
  3. Denise [But First, Live!] #

    That sounds delicious! I don’t think I’ve ever seen nor heard of currant before this post 0:-D

    26 August 2014
  4. tenderlytina #

    Sounds delightful

    26 August 2014
  5. That looks so yummy!

    26 August 2014
  6. I hope to try this one day! Thanks for sharing.

    27 August 2014
  7. Reblogged this on raresivanoiu94.

    27 August 2014
  8. My backyard in upstate New York was bordered by hundreds of currant bushes, and my mom would make jam for us…brings back some great memories! Thanks!

    27 August 2014
    • hungrysofia #

      That must have been beautiful!

      28 August 2014
  9. Looks delicious. Currants are quite beautiful, too.

    28 August 2014
  10. I love these. Have you tried it on Adobo?

    28 August 2014
  11. Now I just have to figure out where to get currants. Looks delicious!

    28 August 2014
  12. Reblogged this on Adventure Spices and commented:
    Confiture de Groseilles reminds me of France, 100%!

    28 August 2014
  13. I love currants! I have a fridge full of red curants and I’m constantly making desserts with it… And after reading this I want to make a currant cheesecake 🙂

    29 August 2014
    • hungrysofia #

      Now that is a great idea!

      29 August 2014
  14. Yum looks giod

    29 August 2014
  15. Looks delicious! Brings memory’s on collecting red currants at my parents garden. They still make jam, which I occasionally enjoy!

    31 August 2014
  16. These pictures are so beautiful. I’ve never cooked with currants, but this jam inspires me to try!

    1 September 2014
  17. That’s cool 😍

    1 September 2014
  18. Looks great!

    11 September 2014
  19. Exactly like I remember them from my grandpas garden. He made this awesome juice from them too.

    13 September 2014
  20. I love this.

    23 September 2014
  21. Yum! They look amazing!

    1 October 2014
  22. Reblogged this on MTS:Check It Out and commented:
    Now I am starving for this!

    9 October 2014
  23. I Love making jam…

    13 October 2014
  24. Reblogged this on carolemccall author and coach. and commented:
    I love making jam…

    13 October 2014
  25. chefceaser #

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

    11 November 2014

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