Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Rote Grütze: An American Take on a Favorite German Dessert

One of the best things about being a tourist in Germany in the summer is eating the dessert Rote Grütze, literally translated as "Red Groats."  The best is found at Leysieffer in Osnabrück, Sylt and Berlin.  You can even buy a container to take home.  
Now this delicacy is made with red currants, and maybe some currant juice as well as raspberries, strawberries and even blackberries.  I don't know if you have a currant bush, but we do not and the little red buggers are $4.99 for a piddling small box if you can find them at all.  Sooooo. What to do? 
I have solved the problem by devising my own Americanische Rote Grütze.   This is not authentic but it's very good.
Take a cup or more of frozen cranberries, 2 cups of rhubarb cut in 1 inch pieces and cook together in a few tablespoons of hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice and maybe 1/3 cup sugar.  Cook until the berries have popped and the rhubarb is soft but still in recognizable shapes.  Add a cup of so of red cherries and a 1 1/2 cups of fresh strawberries or a mix of strawberries, red raspberries, etc.  Add sugar to taste and cook until the berries are soft.  Cool, chill and serve with whipped cream.   
This is a dessert called compote, which is high in all those good-for-us red fruits, hell, it's all red fruit except for the necessary sugar.  Don't over-sweeten.  A bit of tartness is good. 
This time of year with cherries and strawberries on sale is a good time to make Rote Grütze.  I keep cranberries frozen from year to year.  Raspberries, if  reasonable, are a tasty addition.  Antioxidants up the yingyang.  Soooo healthy.  
Rote Grütze: a summer dessert on a seasonal tablecloth- the good life

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