Recipes calling for currants are almost always calling for the small dried fruit that is similar to a tiny raisin, but occasionally we are lucky enough to find fresh currants, either red (seen above) or black, and these are as different as grapes are to raisins!
Fresh currants can be used in baking similarly to when you might use a blueberry or raspberry, such as in a muffin or coffeecake, a fancy mousse or even a simple fool. We highlighted their color and flavor in our Red Currant Curd, perfect for pairing with your morning breakfast pastry. They are very perishable, so use them soon after purchasing. Keep refrigerated and wash right before using, patting dry very gently with clean paper towels. They can be stripped off of their stalks, frozen and used at a later date as well.
As for dried currants (left), they can be substituted in recipes that call for dark raisins (right), or consider using half raisins and half dried currants for a nuanced contrast in textures and flavors. They are like a petite raisins, so if a recipe calls for chopping raisins, which can be a chore since they are sticky, you could certainly try using currants instead. Use them whenever you want a little pocket of dried fruit sweetness, such as in our Cream Currant Scones.