i started another longterm project a few months ago when we got back from berlin: rumtopf (or rum pot.) in between movies and meetings at the berlinale, frank and i went for lunch at rogacki, the amazing deli in charlottenburg.

beyond the sausage and smoked fish porn, there are various stations where you can order food and a glass of wine as well as a cafeteria line featuring most prominently, big tranches of fried fish and three (three!!) types of potato salad. as you move along there are pickled cucumbers, “tartar sauce” (more like a dill-y quark) and an assortment of desserts. one of the desserts was a yellow pudding with a brilliant crimson sauce. the pudding turned out to be bavarian cream and the sauce was a mélange of red fruits. most interesting was the texture – decidedly seed-y, quite, in fact: gritty. i had no idea what it was until we were looking for dessert one night at diener and the brilliantly surly waitress suggested the only dessert they have: röte grütze. in a quick back and forth it was established that röte grütze is not rumtopf which is another german red fruit concoction that i learned about from a former german flame’s parents. a winter holiday delicacy, rumtopf is a crock into which all of the red fruits of summer are added along with rum and sugar. starting in the spring with strawberries and moving through the summer, raspberries, blueberries, red currants and anything else that looks good are layered into the crock and laced with rum and sugar. then it sits through the fall to be revealed in the days leading up to christmas. the boozy red syrup and fruit can be poured over ice cream and cake or as i intend: eaten deliriously with a spoon.

i made röte grütze when we got back and also took a foray into bavarian cream which is remarkably easy: gelatin-fortified creme anglaise with whipped cream folded in.  the “red grits” are comprised of raspberries, cherries, strawberries, blackberries and red currants cooked down with tapioca starch (some traditional recipes call for sago.) the “grits” are the seeds of the raspberries, blackberries and currants. i love the crunchy sensation along with the tartness of the pudding. frank hates it and keeps asking if i can make it without the grits part which is sort of not the point, but i will give it a try.

so i’ve put up a rum pot and it has been sitting since february with the occasional addition. today i added a bunch of pluots left over from last week’s csa. it already smells and looks pretty good: i tried a strawberry, it was intact, translucent, sweet and totally alcoholic. yum.