It's time to stand up for the wee raisin. All too often, baked goods are passed over when someone learns that they are dotted with raisins instead of chocolate chips or nuts. It's a real shame.
A prime example: The burnished and buttery Raisin Danish featured above was had at Maison Kayser in the Flatiron District. It was a beauty, studded with plump golden raisins. Wholly satisfying.
I think the real trick with raisins is in the plumping. Don't simply toss them into a recipe without giving them the love they need in advance. Let them steep in hot water or, better yet, some heated rum, bourbon or vino. Once they are ever-so-slightly reconstituted, they offer a sweet luscious addition to cakes, pies, muffins and more.
And, if you really can't bear to give raisins the old college try, maybe you should attempt to embrace their kissing cousin: the dried currant. These tiny morsels, also in need of a bit of rehydrating affection, aren't just ideal for scones, but play well in savory dishes too. In fact, I'm planning a Thanksgiving stuffing that includes these tart berries alongside sourdough bread, scallions, garlic and toasted pine nuts.
I don't know how many readers I'll really convince with this missive. But, I can assure you that you are missing out if you choose to reject the glory of the raisin.
Well, guess that leaves more Raisin Danish, Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, Currant Scones, and alike for me. And, I'll probably get to actually have some T-day stuffing leftovers for a change too!