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Way back when, as I began to assemble recipes for the dessert cookbook, Dad and I discussed a raspberry pudding Grammy used to make. Smooth, just barely gelled and a stunning fuchsia, this was serious grown-up Jell-O. “You know, I think that came from a box,” mused Dad. Profanity! Not possible!

Raspberry danish pudding by Betsy Garside Baking Family

Still have six boxes up for grabs -- any takers?

He was right. Turns out that Grammy just souped up a mix, making a Junket-brand dessert with the sugary juice of frozen raspberries. I found the mix for sale on Amazon (natch) and ordered a case. Yep, that was indeed what I remembered.

But where did the whole idea come from? Why on earth would Junket create something called “Danish Dessert”? Turns out that Junket was just copying success. Rodgrod — literally “red pudding” — is a famous Danish sweet. The Danes make it with currants and other red fruit in the summertime, but one can also make it with frozen raspberries and strawberries in the dead of winter.

The boxed stuff was the flavor and texture I remembered, but I wanted to recreate this dish without food coloring and with a real raspberry ka-pow. None of the recipes I found on-line looked right, so I took bits and pieces from three different approaches. The first try was a disaster: Too much like rubber, not enough raspberry. My beloved-beloved was kind, yet no fool. Two bites and he was done. (Texture alert: When done right this pudding is a very soft set, a consistency that is not for everyone.)

The second try featured more raspberries, less sugar and less cornstarch (the thickening agent). Success. This dessert is so simple, and such a bright mid-winter treat. If you’re going to serve it to guests, chill it in individual serving bowls and put a dollop of lightly sugared whipped cream on top. Your guests will ┬áthink you’re serving them Jell-O . . . and then they’ll see the light.

Danish Raspberry Pudding by Betsy Garside, "Baking Family"

Danish Raspberry Pudding

The smaller amount of sugar yields a tart dessert (which I thought was divine).

Serves 4-6

  • 2 12-ounce packages frozen raspberries (not in syrup), thawed
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus a bit to sprinkle over the top

Put raspberries and water into a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and simmer a minute or two until berries are very soft and give up their color.

Transfer berries to a sieve or chinois over a large bowl or 4-cup measuring cup; push the juice and pulp through, and throw away the seedy bits. You will have just shy of 4 cups of berry juice and pulp; add water to make 4 cups.

In your original saucepan, whisk together cornstarch and sugar. Add a bit of raspberry juice, whisking to keep mixture smooth, then add the rest of the raspberry juice. Over medium heat, bring juice mixture to a boil, stirring often. The mixture will start to thicken, and the color will darken. Cook for one minute at the boil, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and pour into one large or several small serving dishes. Let cool somewhat, then sprinkle a bit of granulated sugar over the top to keep a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours; you can make this one day ahead. The pudding will continue to thicken as it chills.

Photos and recipe copyright 2010 Garside Group LLC

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