Rødgrød med Fløde

Chances are you’re probably sitting there wondering what on Earth does that mean and how do I even begin to pronounce it?

Well, it is Danish, and a literal translation is “red groats with cream”. However, you can translate it more freely as the enticing-sounding Danish red berry pudding with cream. Something like this.

rodgrodmedflode3

I say something like this as this is one of those recipes that looks oh-so-simple, but in reality, many people have their own version, and everyone thinks not only that theirs is best, but that theirs is the only way to make it. So for any Danes out there that happen to read this, I’m fully aware that you’ll be rolling your eyes, and possibly tutting, but I think this version tastes pretty decent, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters.

My first experience with the words rødgrød med fløde was actually way back in the late 1990s, when I was an exchange student in Germany. There were a couple of Danes in our group, and the communal view at the time was that it was a “robust” language to outsiders with a “unique” sound. The Danes thought it was hilarious to ask us to pronounce rødgrød med fløde, which we all got spectacularly wrong. I just could not force myself to make those sounds! All to do with the fact that Danes swallow a lot of the contestants at the end of words, so what you might think is something like roo-d groo-d med floo-hd is closer to rhye-gry-meh-floo-e. If you’re keen to find out, you can hear people getting it right here. Then try to copy them – see how hard it is?

But anyway, for all the humour of those words, I’ve never actually had the pleasure of trying rødgrød med fløde. So how do we make it? The starting point for any batch is lots and lots of delicious summer berries, ideally red. This is the sort of dessert that really is best made when fruit is at its most ripe and the peak of deliciousness! We’re not looking for fruit that looks perfect, it’s all about taste.

red_fruits

As I mentioned, there are lots and lots of versions of rødgrød med fløde out there, but at its most basic, this is recipe that calls for fruit juice that is lightly sweetened, and then thickened slightly with starch (potato flour or cornflour), then cooled and served with lashings of cream. Lashings of cream. However, even within what seems like a pretty easy recipe, there is lots of scope for variety.

Many people seem to cook the berries, then purée the lot by pushing it through a sieve. I have to admit that I’m not too keen on this approach – I like my fruit either totally smooth or in recognisable pieces. I’m just not too keen on anything that seems like mush or has lots of stringy “bits” bobbing around in it. At the other end of the scale, some recipes suggest cooking the fruit, but then straining the liquid through muslin to get a clear red juice (a bit like making jelly). This would apparently result in a clear ruby-red colour and velvet-smooth texture, but I thought it was wasteful as you would throw away a lot of the fruit (and all the fibre from those seeds!). Then other recipes took a more pragmatic approach – just boil up all the fruit, then thicken the lot. Easy, albeit with more of a thickened fruity mush.

However, there were a few suggestions that combined the second and third approaches – making some fruit into a juice, then adding more whole fruit to the juice just before adding the starch. This looked like the best option by far. I love how berries look like little jewels, so it would be a shame to lose that completely. So I cooked up some of my fruit to turn into juice – in fact, this approach was useful as I was using some rhubarb in my version, and I wanted that lovely tart flavour without the stringy “bits”. Once my fruit had cooked down, I put the lot into a muslin bag, but rather than just letting it drip to get a clear juice, I happily gave it a good old squeeze. Maximum fruit, minimum “bits”, and who really cares about the pudding being slightly cloudy? I then put the juice back into a pan, added some berries, and cooked the lot lightly before adding some cornflour to get a thickened texture. Remember you’re aiming for something like a pouring custard, not glue! The result was the colour of garnet or red damask – luxurious, sumptuous, intense.

In terms of the fruit I used, I looked to tradition. In Denmark, redcurrants (ribs) are very popular, and apparently some Danes grow redcurrant bushes just to make this dish. Next were some raspberries (hindbær) – in my view, no summer fruit selection is complete without them. This probably comes from summers when I was very young, spent picking rasps, several plastic punnets attached to a plastic string around my waist (allows for faster two-handed picking, important when you’re keen to earn your first ever £100 as soon as possible!). They also have the requisite glorious red colour you want for this dessert, but they are a complex fruit – sweet, yes, but also aromatic and also a little tart too.

Strawberries (jordbær) are also favourites, and rhubarb (rabarber) seems to feature quite a lot. Personally I love rhubarb and I think small pieces of tender pink rhubarb in there would be delicious, and all a little gentle sharpness to balance the sweetness. However, I only had bigger stalks, so I used them for their juice rather than having big bits bobbing about. Blackcurrants (solbær) and blueberries (blåbær) will also work, but they will also have an effect on the colour, but then again, the flavour will still be delicious, so that is something you could easily live with. Another choice would be cherries (kirsebær), but I didn’t have any to hand. You could even go a bit crazy and omit anything red, going instead for a combination of whitecurrants and gooseberries, but then your dessert would not be red, and you miss your chance to ask people to pronounce the name!

Once I had made my spectacularly-coloured pudding, I mused on whether I should add another flavour. Cardamom is a classic Nordic flavour, but I was not really sure it was what I wanted with fresh summer berries. What about spices like cinnamon? Well, not really. Again, I think ripe fruit stands on its own here, but if you were making this with plums or brambles later in the year, then a little dash of cinnamon or clove would be really lovely. But in summer time – it just has to be pure, lovely fruit!

rodgrodmedflode2

Once you’ve made rødgrød med fløde you need to give some serious thought to how to present it. First off, leave it to cool, or if you prefer, chill it in the fridge. Now, go off and find some suitable serving dishes. A lot of people seem to like ice cream cups, but I think the most spectacular way to present it is by adding a few generous spoonfuls to a wide dish, then adding a tablespoon of cream in a dramatic swirl. This will leave a fantastic and fairly stable colour contrast that will impress guests and provide a neat little nod to the red-and-white of the Danish flag. And when it comes to cream, go for the real deal. Not some low-fat version or a cream substitute. You want rich, golden, full-fat double cream!

In terms of taste, this dessert is wonderful. Rich and fruity, but also a little but sharp from the rhubarb, all balanced with cool, luxurious double cream. This really is a perfect dessert for the final days of summer.

And just the day after I made this, the weather changed. Autumn has arrived.

rodgrodmedflode1

To make Rødgrød med Fløde (serves 6):

Note the specific quantities of each fruit don’t really matter, just as long as you use equivalent weights of whatever you have to hand.

Part 1 – the juice

• 300g rhubarb, chopped
• 150g redcurrants
• 50g blueberries
• 200g strawberries, quartered
• 100g raspberries
• 150g sugar
• 300ml water

Part 2 – for the rødgrød med fløde

• 150g redcurrants
• 50g blueberries
• 50g blackcurrants
• 150g strawberries, quartered
• 50g sugar
• 100ml water
• 3 tablespoons cornflour

To serve

• double cream

1. Put the “part 1” berries into a saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer very gently, covered, for 20 minutes. Break up the fruit with a wooden spoon, then strain through a muslin bag. When cool, give the bag a good squeeze to get as much juice as you can. Discard the seeds and skins.

2. Put the juice in a saucepan. Add the “part 2” fruit, sugar and water. Heat gently then simmer on a low heat, covered, for 10 minutes.

3. Mix the cornflour with a little water, and add to the fruit mixture. Stir well until it is smooth and thickened. If too thin, add a little more cornflour, it too thick, add a little water. Check the flavour – add more sugar if needed, or add a few drops of lemon juice if too sweet.

4. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool.

5. Serve in individual bowls topped with double cream.

Worth making? This is a wonderful, fresh-tasting and luxurious dessert, with the benefit that it can be easily prepared in advance. Highly recommended!

19 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

19 responses to “Rødgrød med Fløde

  1. This looks so beautiful! Thanks for the little lesson as well🙂

  2. I don’t think there is a more perfect food than fresh berries. This dessert really plays them up! I’ll have to try before the season is over…

    • Hi Amanda – yes, this is a great way to serve berries. In fact, it’s ideal when they get a bit too ripe, but are still juicy. I used less sugar as I love that tangy fruity flavour.

  3. RumpusBoulevard

    This looks so good and I so feel like it right now…

  4. That is one gorgeous looking dessert. I actually watched the video. I’ll probably never go to Denmark now, cause I usually try to speak the language! A great post!

    • Hi Mimi – I know, it’s a bit of a tongue-twister! Don’t be put off Denmark – a lovely country with great food, great culture and great people. They speak good English, but they always appreciate when you at least try a few words. Master rødgrød med fløde and you’ll be a star!

  5. CC

    I can almost taste this! And how I miss cream from the UK!! You have no idea😦

    • Hi Christina – I do know what you mean! When I lived in Belgium, it was not easy to get hold of good, fresh cream. Whenever I got the Eurostar train from London, I would pop into M&S and come back with bags of double cream, single cream and a selection of good strong cheddar. The Belgian cream was heat treated and didn’t have that lovely fresh, creamy flavour. They also added sugar and vanilla to flavour it – I converted so many people to real cream when they tried the British stuff. Unlike you, at least I could bring the stuff back to Brussels.

  6. Looks like your Rød Grød Med Fløde turned out perfectly! Informative post with beautiful pictures…as always.

  7. Sumer is I’cumin in in my part of the world. Cannot wait to try this when berries are at their best. Gorgeous looking and my lips are puckering already in anticipation. margaret

    • Oh, lucky you! We’re just at the tail end of summer here. I went to pick blackberries at the weekend in Epping Forest, but they’ve almost all gone! I managed to get about 20 berries in the end. If you make this, let me know how it turns out!

  8. As a Dane I can only say it looks delicious and yes we all have our own way of making it, but never the less they are all correct in their own way. I do like to put almond splits in as well, but don’t use blueberry as that is a fruit we haven’t had in Denmark for very long so it’s not a part of the old recipe, but might give it a try🙂

    • Hi Pippa – glad you like it – a bit of a relief😉

      That’s a really interesting fact about blueberries – I didn’t know that you don’t really have them in Denmark (apart from frozen?) but then it makes sense – we have them in Scotland but only really in hilly areas. I don’t know that they added so much flavour in this recipe, but they did look pretty in the red “sauce”

  9. We can get fresh blueberries now and I have seen that we can buy plants and have them in our garden as well. But if we have to buy then fresh they are quite expensive….or at least I think so. But I do always keep a few bags of frozen in my freezer that I use for baking or smoothies. But as I said I will give it a try in rødgrød as well🙂

    • Oh, you know, I totally mis-read your comment…I thought you were talking about forraging for fresh berries! If you buy them, it’s the same in the UK. We didn’t have them for a long, long time, but then they were hailed as a superfood, and now you can get them everywhere, but still pricy. Of course, if you’re in a wilder area, you can go pick them yourself. They are very small, and it’s a lot of work, but it is also quite fun to find those little berries in what seems to be a very bleak landscape. I was climing a hill a few weeks ago, and came across a huge patch of cloudberries and crowberries…wish I’d had the time to pick some, but the fog and mist was closing in, and we had to get down the hill before it got too bad. Hey ho, there is always next year…

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