I must be the last person in Denmark, who hasn’t understood that we live in dangerous times. While I was in Utrecht last week, there had been some cases of killer cucumbers in Germany (infested with e-coli bacteria) which made every single vegetable and piece of fruit coming from either Germany or Spain (that part I didn’t quite catch) seem very ominous. Suddenly all of our good intentions concerning a proper green-filled diet had been turned into a game of Russian roulette.
All of this, I was blissfully unaware of when I bought two, admittedly rather cheap cartons of strawberries from Irma the other day. It wasn’t until T came home, looked at the carton and said “German!?” that I started to worry a bit. Good thing I was never going to eat them raw anyway, but had intended for them to become “rødgrød med fløde”, the impossible tongue twister of a dish, that translates roughly into “red compôte with cream”. Tongue twisting aside, this is the gentlest kind of sweets you’ll ever have, that still manages to tickle your fancy every time with the classic combination of strawberry and vanilla flavour topped with velvety soft-whipped cream.
Rødgrød med fløde (makes about 1500 ml.)
Adapted from Mette Blomsterberg in Politiken’s bog om: Dessert
- 800 grams fresh/frozen strawberries (about two cartons)
- 200 ml. water
- 200 grams sugar
- 1/2 vanilla pod + content
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp. rose water (be careful not to overdose)
- 6 tsp. corn starch (Maizena)
- 1 1/2 decilitres of fresh blueberries, preferably the small, wild growing ones if you can get a hold on some/red and black currant (adds a nice acidity to the sweet strawberries as well as some visual and textual variety)
Clean the strawberries. It may be frowned upon, but I prefer to pour all of the berries into a large bowl of cold water to make sure I get rid of all the dirt and little “hairs” on the berries. Remove the green tops and slice them into bite size, which for me is quarters with regular sized berries and six pieces with larger ones. Either way, remember that the pieces will keep their shape, so choose one you can live with. Add the cleaned and sliced berries to a large saucepan along with the water, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix it well and let it simmer under a lid for about 15 mins. When it is done, add the rose water and mix the corn starch with some cold water and add it slowly to the compôte while stirring thoroughly. When it thickens, take it off the heat and add the blueberries. Finally, pour it into a container of your choice and let it cool down completely in the fridge.
Serve with slightly whipped cream (prevents the cream from “breaking up” the surface of the compôte and making it look messy from the beginning. Plus, it adds some fluffiness which is never a bad thing.) If you are serving it as a dessert for friends and not just yourself, you can spruce it up with peeled and roasted almond slivers, grated lemon zest or thin flakes of dark chocolate.