Rote Grütze

South Australia’s Barossa Valley food heritage is unique, and I try to pass this knowledge on to my food-loving boys so it will continue into the future. This dessert is a favourite among the grape-growing families of the valley, especially ours.


• Mataro or Shiraz grapes or grape juice

• Sago

• Runny cream

Having been raised on a vineyard property, this generational family recipe is a favourite in the autumn. It is best made with Mataro or Shiraz grapes, but these can be substituted with the best dark grape juice you can buy. I cook up the grapes, press out the juice and then preserve the juice. This delicious dessert can then be a year-round treat.


Pick and wash as many ripe Mataro or Shiraz grapes as will fit in your heavy-based stockpot. Mash up the grapes a little to give the fruit some juice to cook in. Cook slowly until the grapes are soft and then allow to cool. You can leave the grapes on the skins for a few hours, so the maximum amount of colour is extracted. When cool, press all the juice out of the grapes and then strain. (We use a miniature basket press, but using your hands is fine too). Discard skins and seeds and retain juice. To every 2 cups of grape juice, add 1 cup of water. Return the juice and water to the stockpot, measuring the volume as you go. To every cup of liquid, add 1 tablespoon of sago. Put the lid on and leave the mixture overnight so that the sago will begin to soften. The next day, cook the mixture with the lid off over a low heat, stirring regularly until the sago is clear. Allow to cool and then place in the fridge. When it is really cold and has thickened, serve with runny cream. Adjust the amount of sago and/or water in the recipe depending on how you like the consistency and sweetness of the dessert. Delicious after a long day grape picking!

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Tammy Schutz

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