Beet Jelly with Potato Dumplings
Dessert, Dumplings, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Beet Jelly with Potato Dumplings (‘Rote Beete Grütze mit Kartoffelknödeln’)

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You might know that there’s a famous dessert in Northern Germany called ‘Rote Grütze’. It’s a jelly made from fresh berries and often very sweet because Northern people like a lot of sugar in their desserts. This beet jelly is the same thing but it’s made from red beets and I reduced the amount of added sugar drastically for the Southern German palate.

This sweet beet jelly originated in Silesia which is not a part of Germany anymore. The area was lost to Poland after World War II and the German population from there was expelled. That way, a lot of former Silesian and East Prussian dishes got popular around Western Germany as the immigrants from the Eastern states brought them with them.

Some Eastern German favorites are for example:

  • Potato pancakes with apple sauce (‘Kartoffelpuffer’)
  • Poached meatballs with caper sauce (‘Königsberger Klopse’)
  • Pickled herring (‘Salzhering’)
  • Smoked pork belly with plums (‘Himmelreich’)
  • Beet soup (‘Beetenbartsch-Suppe’)
  • Steamed yeast dumplings with plum sauce (‘Häwekließla mit Pflaumaschmootsche’)

As you can see in the recipe picture, I serve this dish with tiny Southern German potato dumplings. That is because I like to eat it as a light and small dessert. Silesian steamed yeast dumplings are huge. If you want to serve these with the jelly it’s a full meal. I mean, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Silesian steamed yeast buns with plum sauce
Silesian steamed yeast buns are fluffy and delicious. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Schläsinger

If you don’t feel like preparing dumplings, then you can also serve this dish with vanilla sauce. That’s the most common way to enjoy sweet jellies in Germany.

Sago Pearls make the best jellies

For thickening the beet juicy, you need a special kind of starch. It’s called pearl sago or pearl tapioca. These pearls are extensively used in Eastern Asian cuisine. You might’ve come across them when you’ve enjoyed bubble tea ore one of the many coconut milk-based dessert soups.

Sago pearls for thickening the beet jelly

These pearls cannot be substituted with anything else. They don’t work in the same way as cornstarch. The pearls will swell over time but they won’t disintegrate. That way you will have a nice chewy and bubbly texture at the end.

The potato dumplings are nothing out of the ordinary. For a detailed guide, please check out my post about Bavarian-style potato dumplings. There you will find detailed technical guidance if you’re an inexperienced dumpling maker.

Batter for potato dumplings
Poaching the potato dumplings in water

I know that a lot of people will not try this recipe because to them beets in a dessert sound revolting. An earthy vegetable isn’t what many people’s dessert dreams are made up of. But honestly, beet jelly is one of my favorite desserts. It’s almost addicting once you eat a few spoonfuls of it because there is such a great balance of flavors. A lot of desserts lack the depth of flavor that this beet jelly with potato dumplings has.

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