Tuesday, August 6, 2013


For those of us who grew up in the US on desserts made by mixing boxes of powder with hot water, the categories were simple:  jello was jello and pudding was pudding.  Many favorite Danish desserts, however, blur that line, combining bright fruit flavors and a silky pudding texture.  

Rød grød med fløde or "red porridge with cream" is a classic summer dessert that calls for the ripe bounty of the season: strawberries, currants, raspberries, and rhubarb. It's essentially a summer compote, a thick stew of lightly cooked fruit served cold, usually med fløde, "with cream." ("Rød grød med fløde" is also one of the most notoriously difficult expressions for non-Danes to say, making it a classic test for language learners--and, during wartime, for spies attempting to infiltrate the country.)

Rabarbergrød is a single-note variant of rød grød made from rhubarb alone.  One version calls for simply cooking the chopped stalks with sugar until soft, but for a more elegant and colorful result, the fuchsia juice is separated from the yellow-grey pulp, then reheated with starch (potato, corn, tapioca, arrowroot...) until it thickens.  It can be served room temperature or cold, but of course 
med fløde.  

Rabarbergrød  /  Rhubarb Porridge or Pudding

1 lb chopped rhubarb
5 c water
3/4 c sugar (or to taste)
1/2 c corn starch dissolved in a little water (if using a different starch you may have to adjust the amount or the cooking method)
sugar and cream to serve
Cover the rhubarb with water and boil until soft.  Transfer to a mesh colander to strain off all the pink juice and return the juice to a saucepan.  Stir in the sugar and bring to a boil again.  Remove from the heat and add the starch, stirring quickly and continuously.  Pour into a glass bowl to cool.  Serve room temperature or chilled with cream and a sprinkle of sugar.  

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