I know that red currants aren't in their season yet, but maybe you have some in your freezer and don't know what to do with them. I do have a huge lot of red currants (not dried!) there from summer - there's always so much of them that it's impossible to use them all. Last year I made this Red Currant Sour Cream Tart. This recipe doesn't differ that much but it's something a bit new. It consists of sweet shortcrust-like dough, walnut rum layer and red currants in meringue. It's quite easy to put together, doesn't require much time so you can concentrate on other things like decorating your Easter cookies, baking Hot Cross Buns, Simnel cake and other typical Easter dishes.
I understand that red currant maybe quite expensive in other countries so if you cannot buy it/ don't have etc. I think you can feel free to substitute some other sour berries for the red currant - for example fresh cranberries, raspberries, black currant, white currant and the list goes on. Just remember it must be sour! The other components are sweet to balance the sourness of red currant and the meringue needs to be sweet otherwise it wouldn't be good.
I had a hard time deciding what name this sheet cake should have. I mean sheet cake is usually layered cake with some kind of frosting in the shape of square or rectangle. This sheet cake is something pretty much different - it's like huge rectangle tart or pie or maybe even something like crostata - at least the dough is quite similar. I also considered calling it a coffee cake but again, that's something a bit different. This kind of cake is very typical for my country where it's called "koláč" (read koh-lach). Google translates this into pie, but it's not the same. Never mind, this sheet cake is really delicious and easy, so oyu can make other more important stuff and have a sweet treat at the same time :)
400g all-purpose flour, sifted
200g cold butter, cut into tiny lumps
130g powdered sugar
4 egg yolks
300g ground walnuts
150g powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
4 egg whites
Red Currant layer:
800g red currants
200g powdered sugar
4 egg whites
Dough: Mix together sugar and flour in a bowl. Add butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Using a knife and then your fingertips. Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten egg yolks into it. Use a knife to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips. Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball. Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for about 30 minutes. Then remove from the fridge and place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a large rectangle shape (aprox. 30x40cm). Transfer the rolled dough into greased and floured baking sheet (30x40) and make sure there are 2cm edges.
Walnut layer: In a bowl, combine all ingredients together and mix well.
Assembling: Spread the walnut layer evenly onto the dough in the baking sheet and bake in preheated oven to 180C for up to 10 minutes (the dough should not change color). Remove from oven, quickly spread the red currant layer onto the prebaked cake and now bake in the oven with temperature lowered to 150-160C for 20-30 minutes or until the surface is lightly golden in color. Let cool completely and then serve (otherwise it would fall apart).
Red Currant layer: Beat egg whites and sugar together until firm peaks form (it'll take several minutes). Add red currants and gently fold in using wooden spatula.
- Feel free to use other types of currants (like black, white etc.).
- You can use frozen red currants, do not defrost them or they'll get soggy.
Don't be afraid of the lenght of the directions! I just love to explain everything in detail and that's why it's so long but only takes about an hour to put this together. I love the contrast between sweet meringue, sour red currants and nutty rum layer infused with cinnamon! The dough is melt-in-your-mouth and shortcrusty. I found the original recipe in one magazine (very old one) but I cut it out a long time ago so no source. However, I didn't follow it to the T and made some twists and it turned out pretty good :) This cake requires just a little effort and yet it delivers very tasty results (if - of course - you like red currants).