Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rødgrød med Fløde (Red Porridge with Cream)


currants

Rødgrød med fløde is a Danish dessert, traditionally made with red currants combined with other red berries and fruits, such as raspberries, cherries, and strawberries.  Served cold, the fruit soup is slightly thickened with cornstarch (or potato starch).  I like mine made primarily with red currants and  some raspberries for their perfume.
 
 rodgrod 1

Rødgrød med fløde is also an excellent way to humiliate exchange students, as the phrase is notoriously difficult to pronounce.  When I lived in Denmark rødgrød med fløde graced the table often.  I always approached it with anxious pleasure.  Or was it pleasurable torment? Because I knew I’d have to make my lame attempt at pronunciation and smile through the family’s laughs before I could even pick up my spoon.

 rodgrod 2

In Denmark we ate our rødgrød ladled into soup plates for an afterschool snack, or as a light dessert (cakes and cookies were only served at teatime, never for dessert) after dinner.

The cream (fløde) pitcher made its way around the table, everyone adding generous sloshes into their bowls.  It was hard to resist the bright pink and white--when no one was looking I liked to marbleize the cream across the top with my spoon.  Sometimes we even spooned a bit of whipped cream on top.  You’ve got to love a place where people put both cream and whipped  cream on their desserts.

rodgrod 3

Nowadays I have my own red currant bush.  No matter what I do (or more to the point, what I don’t do) it produces pounds and pounds of currants every year.  I freeze most of the berries, saving them to make jelly, summer pudding (into  the fall), pies, and, of course, rødgrød med fløde.

Because it’s such a pretty dish.  And so good.

empty rodgrod bowl 1

Rødgrød med fløde

In Denmark, we ate many thickened fruit soups through the year: rhubarb, strawberry, cherry, and my favorites: rødgrød med fløde (in spite of the humiliation) and Mirabelle plum soup. 
I generally use frozen berries for this.
Serves 4
  • 300 grams red currants (a generous 2 cups, without stems)
  • 200 grams raspberries (a shy 2 cups)
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 75 grams (5 tablespoons) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
Combine the red currants and raspberries in a saucepan with 1-1/2 cups water.  Bring to a boil, and simmer until the berries are tender—about 10 minutes.  Blend the berries with an immersion blender, then put through a sieve.  You will have about 2-1/2 cups liquid.

Put the juice back into the saucepan and add the sugar (use more or less to taste).  Bring to a boil, and then stir in the dissolved cornstarch.  Stirring constantly, bring to a boil again, and boil for a full 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat, and pour into a serving dish.  Some suggest sprinkling sugar over the surface to keep a skin from forming.  I haven’t had luck with that.  Maybe you will?

Let cool to room temperature, then put in the refrigerator to chill.  Serve with cream and/or whipped cream.

Notes:
  • It's tempting, and easy, to oversweeten this, as the currants are tart.  Resist the temptation--the currants have an intense taste, and when combined with too much sugar the dish tastes like a bowl of jam.  Pass a bowl of sugar at the table for those who want more.
  • For more of a ‘company’ dessert, after the rødgrød med fløde is chilled, layer it in parfait glasses with whipped cream.  Add some amaretti crumbs to the layers, or, my favorite, caramelized pumpernickel crumbs.

rodgrod parfait 3

6 comments:

Bettina in Denmark said...

I guess most danish families have their own recipe for "rødgrød med fløde". To me, it should definitely include strawberries, and probably also some rhubarbs ;-) And I would save the raspberries for a snack later...

And - as many danes are also more consious about skipping some of the fats nowadays, you will probably get your stewed fruit with milk. Lots of us don't even like cream ;-)

I know, booring!

Giovanna said...

Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure what all my Danish host mother put in her rødgrød med fløde, but I think it was mainly currants. We also had jordbærgrød (strawberry), rabarbergrød (rhubarb), and mirabellegrød (mirabelle plums).

Of course, I ate this thirty years ago on a dairy farm--I suppose a lot could have changed. But surely they are still using some of that good Jersey cream!

And with milk doesn't sound boring--it sounds like breakfast!

Eleonora said...

You had me at red porridge.

Debbie Swenson said...

Just found this post. My great grand parents immigrated to the US. My grandparents always made a dish they called “red mush” that was a Danish treat. After finding this post, I now know what it really was called although I can’t still pronounce it. My grandmother made this concoction with pearl tapioca for thickening. I loved it especially with my grandfather’s fresh cream!

Cynthia B Huntington said...

When I was 16 I left England on a Cargo boat, from Newcastle to Copenhagen. I worked and lived with the Danish Defense Ministers family. I helped cook, clean and launder. But four nights a week I went on my bike (which I took with me)to Husholdning school where I learned Danish Madlavning. I was not allowed to speak Danish as this was 1953 and all Danes were hungry for English. I learned Danish mainly through the Husholdning night school. The rodgrod med flode was made of rhubarb and absolutely no other berries. So I'm surpised and disappointed with you recipes.

Giovanna said...

Cynthia--
That must have been an interesting time to be in Denmark. I'd love to hear more about how that came up--was it some sort of a government program? So interesting.

Perhaps you saw that someone else commented that their rødgrød med fløde always has strawberries, and generally rhubarb as well. I imagine it's the kind of recipe that possibly has to do with what's available. As I said before, I'm not completely sure what my Danish mother put in hers. I do know it was a mix of berries, and that rhubarb and strawberries were usually made into their own single ingredient desserts: rabarbergrød and jordbærgrød.

I'm pretty sure I'd love any of them!

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