The classic and beloved red berry pudding from Northern Germany, this traditional Rote Grütze recipe comes together in just minutes and is the perfect way to enjoy the fresh, sweet taste of summer! You can use fresh or frozen berries and any combination of varieties you have access to. Serve this Rote Gruetze with your choice of vanilla sauce, cream, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream. The perfect blend of sweet and tart, it is an unforgettably delicious and easy German dessert recipe!
What is Rote Grütze?
Rote Grütze, known in English as red berry pudding or red berry compote, is a traditional dessert originating in Northern Germany and remains especially popular in the regions of Schleswig-Holstein (think Hamburg, Kiel, and Lübeck). It is also popular in neighboring Denmark where it’s known as rødgrød med fløde. Rote Grütze is a berry pudding that is typically made by cooking a variety of berries such as red currants, cherries, raspberries, and strawberries with sugar and thickening it with cornstarch or potato starch. The mixture is allowed to cool and set and is often served either warm or cold with vanilla sauce or cream. Some less common variations of Rote Grutze also include other fruits such as plums, and even less commonly some recipes call for the addition of alcohol like red wine or rum. Rote Gruetze is served on both special and casual occasions during the summer months when fresh berries are in season.
I lived in the Hamburg area in my early 20’s and had many welcome opportunities to enjoy this treat in the homes of German friends and acquaintances, including several elderly women who had been making the dessert for decades. While it’s popular throughout Germany, including Baden-Württemberg where I’m from, Rote Grütze is especially popular in the north. I have many fond memories of our family vacations to various destinations throughout Northern Germany and of us ordering Rote Grütze in the local cafes and restaurants in that region. The most common way I had it served to me there and throughout the country was with vanilla sauce and that’s the way I enjoy it best.
Hamburg, Germany / Shutterstock
What Berries are in Rote Gruetze?
The primary ingredients in Rote (German for “red”) Grütze are red berries (red currants, raspberries, strawberries and cherries). Traditionally it would have been made almost exclusively with red currants and often with the addition of raspberries, but today strawberries and cherries are also included as are often blueberries, blackberries and/or blackcurrants. The traditional thickening mechanism is a reflection of its name: Rote “Grütze”, which translates as grits, refers to it being thickened with semolina which gave the pudding a gritty texture. Today it is most commonly thickened with either cornstarch or potato starch.
We’ve grown berries in our garden for the last several years and after moving across the country two years ago, leaving behind our precious berries, one of the first things we did upon arrival was plant our berry patch. We can’t live without our berries! Red, black, and white currants, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, strawberries…we’ve got and love them all. And besides enjoying them popped straight into your mouth, there is no tastier way to enjoy the summer’s bounty of fresh red berries than preparing some Rote Grütze. While I try to take advantage of fresh berries whenever I can, you can also use frozen berries.
Either way this dessert comes together in about 10 minutes and can be enjoyed either warm or cold. Drizzle it with vanilla sauce, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, and you’ll be in berry heaven!
Rote Grütze Recipe
The process of making homemade Rote Grütze, or red berry pudding, is easy:
- Put 4 tablespoons of the red fruit juice in a small bowl or cup and dissolve the cornstarch in it. Set aside.
- Place the remaining juice in a saucepan along with the berries, sugar and vanilla pulp or vanilla extract. Bring this mixture to a gentle boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
- Stir in the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, and simmer for another 1-2 minutes or until the fruit is softened. Be careful not to overcook the berries, you don’t want a berry puree. Add some fresh lemon juice to taste and crème de cassis if desired. Let the mixture cool. It will continue to thicken a little as it cools.
Serve your Rote Gruetze warm or cold with our homemade Vanilla Custard (thinned down slightly with some extra cream),some whipped cream, heavy cream, or vanilla ice cream.
For more delicious fruit desserts be sure to try our:
- Cherry Clafoutis
- Blackberry Clafoutis
- French Almond Plum Cake
- Cherry Marzipan Streusel Cake
- German Plum Cake
- German Apple Cake
- Peach Crisp
- Rhubarb Crisp
- Caramel Pear Walnut Cake
- Rhubarb Streusel Cake
- Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
Rote Grütze (Red Berry Pudding)
- 1 1/4 pounds (about 4-5 cups) mixed red berries , raspberries, strawberries, red currants, sour cherries (or regular); can also add a few blueberries, blackberries, and/or black currants; if using frozen berries you may need a little extra cornstarch for thickening
- 1 cup red fruit juice (e.g. cherry juice)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (less if you prefer it more tart, more if you prefer it sweeter)
- 1 vanilla bean , cut lengthwise and the inside pulp scraped out (the pulp is what you will use)
- OR 1 teaspoon quality pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or more depending on desired thickness; can start with less and add more if you prefer it thicker)
- freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste , optional
- 1-2 tablespoons crème de cassis/cassis liqueur , optional
- Put 4 tablespoons of the red fruit juice in a small bowl or cup and dissolve the cornstarch in it. Set aside.Place the remaining juice in a saucepan along with the berries, sugar and vanilla pulp or vanilla extract. Bring this mixture to a gentle boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.Stir in the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, and simmer for another 1-2 minutes or until the fruit is softened. Be careful not to overcook the berries, you don't want berry puree. Add some fresh lemon juice to taste and crème de cassis if desired. Let the mixture cool. It will continue to thicken a little as it cools.
- Serve warm or cold with our homemade vanilla custard (thinned down slightly with some extra cream), heavy cream, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream. Store in a covered container in the fridge where it will keep for 3-4 days.
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