Danish berry pudding with cream (rødgrød med fløde) is probably the most famous of all Scandinavian desserts. It surely is the national dessert of Denmark.
A multitude of berries cooked with water or fruit juice thickened with potato starch resulting in a “red porridge” (rødgrød) and served with heavy cream. The national dessert of Denmark has been a staple since the late 19th century and together with ris a la mande they constitute the Danish contribution to the World heritage of desserts. Norway has no tradition of berry pudding, but we have a similar “fruit porridge” which consists of cooked and thickened rhubarb, also served with cream. These are desserts with an emotional ingredient: They remind you of childhood, the good childhood. Or how we want to remember childhood.
The scent of sunshine, vacation and freedom. Because it is hard to forget the enduring scent of boiled berries. They remind me of childhood the same way gravy from a roasted duck and pork roast do on Christmas Eve.
Thomas Herman, Danish star chef
Berry pudding is not the fanciest of desserts. It is the dessert most grandmothers made long time before creme brulé and chocolate fondant were household desserts. It is traditionally served with heavy cream, never whipped cream. The other defining trait is the use of an array of berries. It is made with at least three kinds of berries. According to the Housewife’s handbook dating back to 1903 redcurrants are important because they “yield the loveliest colour, but it is tastier with a mix of redcurrants, raspberries and blackcurrants.”
In some versions the berries are cooked until porridge. In other versions the berries are just dropped in the sauce at the end. The latter is the version I adhere to. I make the berry pudding in two phases: First I cook a flavourful syrup based on redcurrants, blackcurrants or cherries. When the cooking is finished I add strawberries and raspberries. Serve it either warm or cold, but if you serve it cold drizzle a little sugar to avoid the dessert developing a “skin” on top.
Because it is mid-July I use the berries in season: Redcurrants for colour and tartness, raspberries and strawberries for sour sweetness, making it into a dessert celebrating summer and its endless bounty.
Danish berry pudding with cream (makes 4–5)
100 g currants (red or black)
200 ml water
50 g sugar
150 g raspberries
300 g strawberries
2 tbsp maizena
50 g blanched almonds
heavy cream to serve
1. Add redcurrants (or blackcurrants), water and sugar in a pan and let simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Wash and hull the strawberries. Divide small ones into two and big ones into three.
3. Stir the maizena in a little water and pour into the pan while stirring with a whisk. It is important you pour the maizena gradually until the pudding has the consistency of thin porridge. (The pudding will thicken more as it becomes cold).
4. Remove the pudding from the heat and add the strawberries and raspberries. Serve with heavy cream in a jug.