Strawberry patience test
May 25, 2011
It made me cringe when I pinched off two handfuls of flower buds from the 70 strawberries I planted in the new patch in April. But that’s what you are supposed to do in order to get stronger plants and a good crop next year. Alas, no strawberries this year! For now I can only dream of Rote Grütze, one of my favorite German desserts (later in the season I will make it with raspberries, red currants and blueberries).
The word “Grütze” is anything but appealing in German, meaning something like “grits”. Hence as a kid because I loved the dessert so much but disliked the name, I renamed it “nostalgia pudding”, as it was a very old-fashioned dessert back then. Rote Grütze has since made a huge comeback in Germany and is now available in all types of weird concoctions such as Rote Grütze tea. I stick with the classic.
2 pounds mixed berries (fresh or frozen) and pitted cherries, washed and picked over
1/4 cup bottled fruit syrup or a good fruit juice (raspberry, strawberry, or any other of the fruit you are using)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1. For the pudding, bring the blueberries and cherries to a boil in a large saucepan until they pop or release their juice. Hull the strawberries and cut very large ones into quarters. Add the more delicate fruit like strawberries and raspberries last. Stir in the syrup and sugar to taste.
2. Dissolve the cornstarch in at least ¼ cup cold water. Remove the pan from the heat, stir the cornstarch into the fruit mixture, and cook briefly over low to medium heat, stirring constantly. Make sure not to undercook the pudding, otherwise it will taste chalky. When the pudding turns clear and thickens, remove the pan from the heat immediately. Continue stirring for another 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Pour the hot pudding into a glass serving bowl or individual dessert bowls. To prevent the glass from cracking when you pour the hot pudding into it, put a damp dishtowel underneath the bowl. Refrigerate for several hours until set. Serve the pudding cold, but take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving, so it can develop its full flavor. Serve with homemade vanilla sauce, vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream.
Makes 6 servings