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Expert Takeover: Summer Berry Soup w/ Judith H. Dern


Expert Takeover: Summer Berry Soup w/ Judith H. Dern
Currants in a bowl Boiling berries on the stove Berry soup in a blue bowl Berry soup in a blue bowl

In this expert takeover, food author and longtime Museum Supporter Judith H. Dern shares with us a recipe for a delicious cold summer berry soup with cream topping. 


Summertime’s bonanza of berries makes this traditional ruby-red dessert soup a favorite throughout Scandinavia. In Finland, currants are preferred, while in Denmark the soup is made with rhubarb and raspberries. Called Rødgrød med Flød, it stars as the national dessert. Top each serving with a swirl of vanilla-flavored whipped cream for extra deliciousness. This recipe serves 6. 

Summer Berry Soup with Cream Topping
(adapted from The Scandinavian Cookbook – Fresh and Fragrant Cooking of Sweden, Denmark and Norway)

Ingredients

3-1/2 cups (approx. 4 ounces) red currants, washed with stems removed
2-2/3 cups (approx. 1 pound) raspberries
½ to ¾ cup white sugar (amount to taste depending on sweetness of fruit)
2-1/2 cups black currant juice
3 cups water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
Additional raspberries for decoration

Directions

  1. Place the currants, raspberries, sugar, 2 cups black currant juice (reserve ½ cup for step 3) and water into a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then turn down slightly to cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan.
     
  2. Set a sieve over a second saucepan, and then pour the cooked berry and juice mixture into the sieve. Using a wooden spoon, press through as much berry juice as possible. Discard the berry pulp.
     
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the remaining ½ cup black currant juice. Stir this mixture into the saucepan with the berry juice.
     
  4. Place the saucepan with the berry juice/cornstarch mixture over medium heat and bring it to a bowl, stirring until it thickens somewhat. Remove from the heat and refrigerate to cool until ready to serve.
     
  5. Pour the whipping cream into a bowl and stir in the vanilla sugar. Keep it cold until ready to serve with the soup.
     
  6. To serve, spoon the chilled berry soup into 6 individual bowls and swirl in 2 tablespoons of the whipping cream into the top of each bowl. Top with a few raspberries and serve.

Tips

  • Be Danish and use chopped fresh rhubarb as a substitute for red currants. Prepare it in the same way as outlined, by cooking it with the raspberries, and then straining the mixture.
  • Potato flour may be used instead of cornstarch, but don’t boil the soup very long after adding it or the mixture will become rubbery.
  • Some cooks do like to whip the cream to use as a topping.

Judith H. Dern is a published author pursuing word wizardry and all things edible for her career. She has numerous cookbooks and national and regional articles under her byline including, most recently, The Food and Drink of Seattle: From Wild Salmon to Craft Beer (2018) and The Food and Cooking of Scandinavia: Sweden, Denmark and Norway (2011), both available in the Museum Store and ready to inspire your own food stories. You can read more about Judith and her work on her website: judithhdern.com

Berry soup