Danish red berry soup a simple, sweet summertime dessert

Every Danish home makes a version of this soup, in which berries simmer with sugar until the juices release.

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Danish red berry soup is a delicious —and perhaps a newfound way — of serving up a summertime bounty of berries.

Danish red berry soup is a delicious —and perhaps a newfound way — of serving up a summertime bounty of berries.

Lynda Balslev/TasteFood

In a splendid reflection of cultural priorities, count on the Danes to assign a bowl of soup as a measure of linguistic ability.

For us well-intentioned yet decidedly non-Danish spouses and friends who have attempted to speak the language, there is an inside joke among Danes when it comes to testing our purported linguistic skills.

Simply put, it’s to repeat the tongue-twisting phrase “rodgrod med flode,” which directly translates as “red porridge with cream,” or in this instance, a red berry soup.

Despite the challenges with this phrase, the upside is it describes a beloved and iconic dessert that you will be pleased to eat. In a country where the summer season can be fickle, if not fleeting, the brief yet prolific berry harvest is cause for jubilation, and, frankly, eating one’s fill.

The season’s first strawberries, followed by raspberries, black currants, red currants, blackberries and blueberries, are abundant and everywhere: Wild and farm-picked, sold by the roadside and in markets, and grown in home gardens. With such an embarrassment of riches, these juicy jewels are gobbled straight up, folded into desserts, preserved for later use, and, best of all, jumbled into a pot and cooked down into a red berry soup.

Every home makes a version of this soup, in which berries simmer with sugar until the juices release. The mixture is sometimes blended, but always cooled and served with a dollop of whipped cream or a swirl of creme fraiche. Perhaps a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vanilla is added, or even chopped almonds for a more toothsome texture.

No matter the tweaks, the results are unfailingly delicious.

Danish Red Berry Soup

Yield: Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds mixed fresh berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, red and black currants
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Whipped cream or creme fraiche for serving (optional)
  • If using strawberries, halve or quarter if large.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine the berries and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and the berries release their juices, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours before serving.

3. Serve with whipped cream or creme fraiche, if desired.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning food and wine writer, cookbook author and recipe developer. She authors the blog TasteFood, a compilation of more than 600 original recipes, photos and stories. More recipes can be found at chicago.suntimes.com/taste.

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