Several years ago, when Joe was really into learning about permaculture and increasing the productivity of our little woodland homestead, he purchased about 30 fruit trees and bushes from an online nursery to add to our landscaping. We spent one weekend planting them all over the place, some of them in the contour beds that Joe installed in the yard to help with water runoff, some of them along the edges where our yard stops and the forest begins, some of them in garden beds next to the house, and some of them in the raised beds in the garden.
Many of the trees didn’t make it – which is always a disappointing and disheartening part of homesteading or gardening – but several varieties seemed to take really well to our rocky soil and our harsh growing environment (cold winters, not much sun, deer munching on everything they can find, three boys running and biking all over everything…). One of the top performers are the currant bushes, which produce red, black, and white berries at this time of year.
Some others that are thriving (or at least surviving) are gooseberries and goumi berries. I haven’t figured out what to do with those yet and, to be honest, we’ve never had enough to have extras after the boys are done harvesting and eating their share straight from the bushes. But maybe there will be another post about those berries some day!
Last weekend, Joe and our oldest son went outside to see how many currants they could find on our 3 bushes and came back with 2 quarts! And when I asked the kids what we should make with them, they all voted for currant pie! So here is the recipe that we followed, which is from one of my favorite seasonal cookbooks: Simply in Season. We chose to use a crumble topping but you could also make this with a second crust on top.
[We were pressed for time and I’m also following a limited gluten diet at the moment so we used a premade gluten-free pie crust for the one in the picture. When we make homemade pie crusts, we use this recipe from The Prairie Homestead. We use whole wheat flour and lard from a local pig farmer.]
- 9-inch pastry shell
- 1 cup cane sugar or honey
- 3 Tablespoons wheat flour
- 3 cups currants
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup wheat flour
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- Prepare your pie crust (either homemade or premade).
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In the bottom of the crust, sprinkle a small amount of the sugar. Mix remaining sugar and flour together. Then add the currants and water. Pour mixture into the pie crust.
- Either cover with a second crust into which vent holes have been made or prepare crumb topping as described below.
- For the crumb topping: Mix together flour, sugar and nuts (if using). Cut in butter and oil using two knives to make a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle crumb topping over pie filling.
- Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!