Saturday, July 5, 2008

Germany is practially soy-free. A German berry dessert

Elder daughter and I spent just came back from 11 days in Germany. I ate out every meal with no problems. Germans use sunflower and canola oil for the most part--even in their mayonaise.

The plane back was British Airways, though, and eating was a problem. The good thing was, the entrees had the ingredients on the covers. A flight attendant kindly checked through all the entrees and found me an extra vegetarian moussaka that had no soy. It was pretty tasty for airline food, too.

By the way, if you liked the cherry-berry pie, from a May post below, you might like a dessert we had in Germany called Rote Gruetze (Red Groats--name goes back to antiquity and probably means it was originally thickened with grain.)

Rote Gruetze

3 (14-16 oz) bags frozen mixed berries
1 (1-lb) can sweet or tart cherries, reserve juice (recipes I have seen have used either)
4 cups (approximately) cran-raspberry or red grape juice*
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup sifted cornstarch

Thaw and drain the berries, reserving juice. Puree one bag of berries with the reserved berry and cherry juices and add enough of the fruit juice you are using to make 1 quart. Put in a large saucepan and add 2 more cups of juice, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring often.

Combine the cornstarch with one more cup of juice* and stir to completely combine. When the mixture in the saucepan starts to bubble, pour in the cornstarch mixture, stirring all the while so you don't get lumps. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Mixture should be clear. Stir in the other 2 bags of mixed berries and the cherries and cook 1 more minute. Cool to room temperature, then put in a large bowl and refridgerate until cold.

Serve with vanilla sauce, whipped cream, plain heavy cream, or ice cream. Serves 8.

*Variation: replace 1 cup of juice with red wine

Vanilla Sauce

2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
3 eggs, large or extra-large, lightly beaten

Heat milk, sugar, and vanilla beans in a heavy saucepan over low heat just until the mixture steams, about 10 minutes. Whisk a little of the milk into the beaten eggs, then whisk the eggs back into the milk. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not boil--it will curdle. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla beans into the custard, and discard the pods. Pour through a seive and serve hot or cold.

Adapted from The New German Cookbook, by Jean Anderson and Hedy Wuerz