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is a Northern German/Scandinavian summer pudding similar to compôte, also known as Rødgrød. This cold fruit dish is bursting with an assortment of berries, mainly red currents that are at their peak in the warmer months. With the addition of cherries and a few blueberries, this dessert is full of texture and flavour, finished off with a layer of fresh cream.
Many variations exist using other berries such as raspberries, gooseberries and blackberries. Any combination of berries works in this refreshing treat to deliver a tangy fruity finish that is held together by a red fruit juice and cornflour mixture that sets into a smooth pudding consistency.
Originally, semolina, (a type of gluten flour made from durum wheat) was added as a thickening agent which gave a gritter finish, hence the name Grütze which means grits in German.
Fresh versus frozen berries
Either fresh or frozen berries work equally well to make Rote Grütze, but please note that for every 500g of frozen fruit, lower the red fruit juice/water by 50ml as excess water is released from the fruit as it thaws and cooks.
What is red fruit juice?
Red fruit juice is simply the juice of one or many red-coloured berries. You can use berry syrups or cordials to make a batch or use store-bought berry juices from raspberry to cranberry juice, as long as it is red in colour.
Alternatively, blitz a cupful of extra frozen berries, sieve the liquid and add extra water to make enough for the recipe.
Adding cherry liqueur (the sweet sticky type, not Kirsch) is an optional ingredient to give that extra berry flavour to Rote Grütze. Perhaps this is more suitable to add when serving as a dinnertime dessert rather than first thing in the morning.
Traditionally, cold unwhipped full-fat heavy or double cream is poured as a topping, but if you prefer your cream thicker, whip it slightly. Cold custard, vanilla sauce or natural yoghurt is also delicious as a topping.
How to eat Rote Grütze
I came across Rote Grütze at a hotel breakfast buffet when I first arrived in Vienna in 2011. It was served slightly warm, and I had the option to pour cold cream or yoghurt on top. The contrast was heavenly! After living years in the tropics where berries were expensive or scarce, this berry pudding was exciting to try and so delicious – a good way to start the day!
Besides enjoying it at breakfast, it can be eaten throughout the day as a snack or to end a meal as a dessert.
You can find store-bought Rote Grütze sold in large jars at most supermarkets right across Austria, Germany and Scandinavia, but making your own is so easy and best of all, you can customise your favourite blend of berries in the mixture.
ROTE GRÜTZE (Summer Berry Pudding)
- 6 glass or ceramic containers, measuring 200ml
- 1 Large saucepan
Rote Grütze (Summer Berry Pudding)
- 500 g fresh or frozen mixed berries: red currents, blueberries & cherries See notes below if using frozen
- 180 ml red fruit juice or water See notes below on how to make red fruit juice
- 1 tbsp cherry liqueur optional
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4-5 tbsp caster sugar or vanilla sugar
- 3 tbsp cornflour, sieved
- 3 tbsp extra red fruit juice or water
- Extra sugar for sprinkling
- 250 ml full-fat heavy cream or double cream
- Extra berries for garnishing
- Mint leaves for garnishing
Rote Grütze (Summer Berry Pudding)
- Wash, drain and dry the berries. Skip this step if using frozen berries.
- Remove the pits from the cherries and cut in half.
- Fill a large pan with red fruit juice or water. Add the cherry liqueur and mix well.
- Bring the pan to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer for 3 mins.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the sugar.
- Pour in the vanilla extract.
- In a small bowl, mix the sieved cornflour with the extra red fruit juice or water until it is free of lumps. I used water in the photo.
- Add the cornflour mixture to the pan and stir in thoroughly.
- Add the berries.
- Return the pan back to the stove and stir gently for a few minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken slightly.
- Ladle the fruit mixture into individual glasses or ceramic containers. The mixture may seem a bit runny at this stage, but as it chills, it thickens to a pudding consistency.
- Sprinkle some sugar over the top and cover the containers with plastic wrap, pressing down lightly onto the surface of each one so that a skin film doesn’t form on the tops.
- Chill for 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, pour some cream over the top of each portion. Whip the cream if you prefer the cream to be thicker.
- Garnish with extra berries and some mint leaves.
- Serve immediately.
- Keeps for 3 days chilled without the cream topping
- Keeps for 1 day with the cream topping
- Unsuitable to freeze