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German Rote Grütze Recipe (Red Berry Dessert with Fresh Cream)

 

Like berries? You’ll love Rote Grütze — an easy northern German summer dessert!

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If you like German food, authentic German recipes, or are looking for tasty no-bake summer dessert recipes featuring berries, you’ve got to try this easy and delicious German recipe. 

Rote Grütze is hands down one of my favorite easy German desserts.

You can use fresh or frozen berries, it comes together easily in about 10 minutes, and it’s absolutely delicious served a still little warm with a pour of cold heavy cream over the top (that’s how it was first served to me in Germany) — or, if you prefer, a scoop of homemade ice cream, vanilla sauce or a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

A Little Backstory

A few weeks after I arrived in Germany for a year-long high school exchange program, a friend’s mom served Rote Grütze for dessert.

I’d gone to visit said friend (ok, kinda a boyfriend) after not having seen him in a year. It was so exciting to be in Germany for the first time and to see this cute boy again!

One day we went to visit his summer house in northern Germany and had dinner with his family on the patio outside. My German was pretty much restricted to about five words at that point, so the entire family was teaching me dinner table words – knife, fork, spoon, plate, beer.

Then came dessert – a big bowl of what looked like a red berry pudding accompanied by a pitcher of cold, fresh cream.

As soon I tasted one spoonful of Rote Grütze I learned how to say oh my god this is the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my 16 years on this planet and can I please have more? in German.

Actually, no…I’m pretty sure the only thing I managed was a vigorous nod and a hearty ja, bitte! when asked if I wanted seconds (and probably thirds).

Rote Grütze is a northern German dessert, but these days you will find jars of it at almost any grocery store in Germany. When I was at university in southern Germany, I always had a jar of Rote Grütze in my cupboard for those times when I missed northern Germany.

I wish I’d known back then how just how easy it is to make from scratch, not to mention how much better it tastes!

It’s super easy to make Rote Grütze. All you do is mix red berries with sugar and water or juice, simmer, add corn starch to thicken, pour into bowls, add fresh, cold cream, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or vanilla sauce. I always reserve a few berries to place on top of the cream just before serving. 

My favorite way to eat Rote Grütze is the way my friend’s mom served it all those years ago – still a little warm with fresh, cold heavy cream poured over the top. Ahhhhhh…so delicious.

Lately, though, I’ve been serving it with creme fraiche whipped cream, which takes the dessert to a whole new level and is super easy to whip up (sorry) if you’ve got creme fraiche on hand.

You could also try homemade clotted cream ice cream for something a little different or, if you want a dairy free option, try serving it with whipped coconut cream.

Or go more traditional with vanilla sauce or a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

One of the best things about Rote Grütze is that it’s so versatile. Use fresh or frozen berries. More or less sugar. Simmer in water or red fruit juice. Leave it chunky or push it through a sieve to make it smooth. Serve while still a little warm or chill until cold.


You can make Rote Grütze with any red berries you happen to have – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, currents. I often use a bag of frozen berries from Trader Joe’s if I don’t have fresh. My favorite is the very cherry blend but the simple berry mix works great too. Currants seem impossible to find in the US, otherwise I’d add those, too.

Enjoy this taste of northern Germany!

 

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Rote Grütze Recipe

German Rote Grütze

German Rote Grütze

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This simple berry dessert from Northern Germany is a refreshing summer treat.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 cups [about 500g] berries (any combo of fresh or frozen raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, currants)
  • 1/2 cup [100g] sugar 
  • 1 cup [250ml] red fruit juice
  • 1/3 cup [45g] corn starch  
  • 1/2 cup [113ml] cold heavy cream 

Instructions

  1. Wash and cut berries as needed.
  2. Add fresh or frozen berries and sugar to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. If using fresh berries, you may need to add a bit of juice.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and juice until smooth. Pour into the fruit and stir. Reduce heat and let simmer for 1-3 minutes or until it thickens up a bit. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more fruit juice to thin.
  4. Take off heat, pour into 4 bowls, and let cool.
  5. Serve with a small pitcher of fresh, cold heavy cream to pour over the Rote Grütze.

Notes

  • You can use fresh or frozen berries.
  • You can use any kind of red fruit juice or just plain water. Juice gives the dessert a little more flavor but water works, too.
  • Taste your berries before adding the sugar. If the berries are sweet, you might want to add less sugar (I often use 1/4 cup of sugar but I prefer it less sweet). If you prefer a sweeter dessert, add more sugar to taste.
  • I prefer my Rote Grütze still a little warm and topped with cold cream (that's how it was first served to me and it's delicious!) but other people like it better after it's been chilled in the fridge for a couple hours. It will be thicker if you eat it cold.
  • I've always eaten Rote Grütze with cold, fresh cream but others prefer to top with vanilla sauce, ice cream or whipped cream. All are delicious!
  • What to Do with Left-over Rote Grütze?

    I’ve got two ideas for you: ice cream and paletas!

    #1 – Rote Grütze Ice Cream

    I’ve been making single-serve ice cream all summer long and this is one of my favorites. It’s easy to make – no ice cream machine needed.

    Rote Grütze Ice Cream

    Rote Grütze Ice Cream

    Yield: 1-2 servings
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Freeze Time: 2 hours 1 second
    Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes 1 second

    If you like berry-filled German Rote Grütze you'll love this easy no churn ice cream recipe!

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup [120 ml] heavy cream
    • 1 TBSP golden syrup (see note below)
    • 3 TBSP Rote Grütze
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • pinch of salt
    • Fresh berries (optional topping)

    Instructions

      1. Pour all ingredients into a small jar that has a lid. (I typically use an 8oz jam jar.)
      2. Stir until ingredients are well combined.
      3. Add the lid and then shake the jar several times until the cream has thickened. (I usually shake it 20-25 times.)
      4. Place jar in freezer for 1-2 hours.
      5. When you're ready to eat the ice cream, take the jar out of the freezer and let it warm up for a few minutes.
      6. Top with fresh berries (optional).

    Notes

    • You can use store-bought golden syrup or you can make it at home using make it at home using this recipe.
    • If you don't want to use golden syrup, you can use honey instead.

    #2 -Rote Grütze Paletas

    These ice pops are super easy and the perfect treat for hot summer days. 

    I made these after we ate all of the Lemon Curd Paletas and the Strawberry Paletas and wanted something on the healthier side for dessert.

    To make Rote Grütze paletas, all you need to do is mix Greek yogurt (I use full fat so they’re creamy) and Rote Grütze to taste. For 6 paletas, try starting with 1 1/2 cups [429g] Greek yogurt and 1/2 – 3/4 cup [140 – 210g] Rote Grütze.

    This recipe is flexbile…sometimes I add more for a stronger Rote Grütze flavor, sometimes less for a lighter flavor.

    Spoon into popsicle molds (I use and love these!) and freeze until set. 

    When you’re ready to enjoy them, run under warm water until you can pull the ice pop out of the mold. 

    For a while I used a cheap set of plastic ice pop molds that I picked up from Ikea. A few years ago I upgraded to these stainless steel popsicle mold. I love them and use them all summer long. Wish I hadn’t waited to long to upgrade!

    Like this Recipe? Share it!

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    Karin Anderson

    Tuesday 24th of August 2021

    Even easier - instead of cornstarch, I use vanilla pudding powder (recommendation by late, famous German TV chef Alfred Biolek). And the additional vanilla flavoring doesn’t hurt.

    Cate, International Desserts Blog

    Tuesday 24th of August 2021

    That's a great idea! I'm going to try that next time.

    Wendy

    Monday 16th of August 2021

    I've enjoyed the Danish version of this, rodgrod, since I was a little kid. I like to pour whipping cream or half and half over it. The kind we had was much smoother looking than what I see in your photos but it sounds essentially like the same thing. The deal with currants is it's been illegal to grow it in many areas of the U.S. especially the northern states where it grows best, since it has a pest that endangers white pine forests. A currant farm has started up in Michigan, so maybe the rules have been eased

    Cate, International Desserts Blog

    Monday 16th of August 2021

    I recently heard that currants have been illegal to grow in the US! It does look like some varieties can be grown in Michigan. I grew up eating gooseberries, which grew in my grandparents' backyard in Idaho. They're related to currants but I haven't seen them anywhere since I was a kid. I hope currants can make a come back in the US!

    Michael Feinerman

    Sunday 6th of June 2021

    A chef I used to work for made this with quick-cooking tapioca instead of cornstarch.

    Cate, International Desserts Blog

    Monday 7th of June 2021

    Yep, that would work. It changes the texture a bit but it would work.

    Gina

    Tuesday 1st of September 2020

    Looks delicious! I think someone made this for me once in Germany with tapioca….anyone know a recipe for that? It was a lovely consistency.

    Cate, International Desserts Blog

    Tuesday 1st of September 2020

    I’ve never had it with tapioca but I bet it would be good!

    Hannah

    Sunday 9th of August 2020

    This sounds so good. Not to be stupid but what do you mean by cold cream? Cold milk, cold heavy whipping cream?

    Cate, International Desserts Blog

    Monday 10th of August 2020

    Cold heavy cream is what I use :)

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