Danish Rødgrød med Fløde (Red Berry Pudding with Cream)

Danish rødgrød med fløde (red berry pudding with cream)

I find few things as satisfying as a bowl of old-fashioned porridge, which offers whole grain comfort on cool and drizzly days. But in Denmark, porridge (or grød) is also a popular summer food. Just trade oats and grains for fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, currants, or even rhubarb. Berry sweet and served cold, rødgrød med fløde (red berry pudding with cream) offers an ideal refreshment on hot afternoons and can be made all summer long as red fruits come in and out of season. Best of all, you can use the same recipe week after week and never have the same porridge twice.

In Denmark, porridge is having a renaissance right now. When I was there this past spring, I discovered the aptly named Grød, a Copenhagen cafe serving nothing but the satisfying comfort food, with locations in the hip Jægersborggade neighborhood and trendy Torvehallerne market. Owner Lasse Andersen experiments with savory spelt porridges and risottos, but in summer, his tiny grødbar offers big flavor with its classic rødgrød and rhubarb compote.

Post Grød, I couldn't wait to try a sweet version—crimson in color and deep in berry flavor—at home. From farmers' market to dessert in a matter of minutes (active cooking time is under a half hour, though you must chill for a while before serving), you can get a taste of summertime in Denmark without ever having to board an airplane. Here's my take on the lovely but simple dish:

18 ounces mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, currants, chopped rhubarb, etc.), plus some for garnish
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups water, divided
Heavy cream

Rinse berries then place in a medium saucepan along with 1 cup of water. Allow to come to a boil and cook until berries have broken down. Gently push berries through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, and then pour the resulting juice back into saucepan. Add sugar.

Place cornstarch into a small bowl and then mix with the remaining cup of water to form a slurry. Slowly pour cornstarch mixture into saucepan while stirring with a wooden spoon. Allow pudding to come to a boil and continue stirring until thickened. Once it has reached desired consistency, divide pudding among 4 small serving bowls or ramekins, and then chill in the refrigerator for several hours until set.

When ready to serve, pour some heavy cream over each pudding and garnish with fresh berries.

All in season: Red currants, raspberries, strawberries