On my first trip to Denmark I stayed with a family in Aarhus.

My hostess, Mrs. Anderson, made typical Danish food - simple and fresh, but sometimes bland. One dessert she made though, a red fruit pudding, was bliss.

Danes, I discovered, love serving this dessert to visitors. Justly proud of it as a delicious dish, they insist on making guests pronounce its name, Rodgrod Med Flode, and then enjoy the mangled result.

If you are not Danish, forget about wrapping your lips around its constricted vowels. Just say tak (thank you) and keep eating.

Rodgrod refers to the pudding part of this dessert, made using the juice from red fruits - traditionally fresh raspberries and currants - which are boiled down to the fruits' essence, then thickened using cornstarch or potato starch to make them spoonable.

Med flode means "with cream." Not a flood, but a few spoonfuls of light cream. The cool liquid makes the soft pudding feel like velvet in your mouth and adds a perfect taste contrast to the lightly sweetened fruit.

Heavy whipping cream or half-and-half will not have the same effect.

Red berry pudding made the authentic way starts with several quarts of fresh fruit - meaning it costs a fortune. And cooking, straining, then cooking down the strained fruit takes ages.

So I have created this easier version. Using frozen raspberries and strawberries, it has the same glowing color, creamy texture and intense fruit flavor - plus it is financially sensible.

Even bliss does have a price though. Defrosting and bringing the fruit to room temperature yields the most juice and flesh, but it means advance planning. Pushing the berries through a strainer is physical work.

Think of it as earning the calories to enjoy the result.

Served in small glass bowls, red berry pudding is pretty at brunch as well as for dessert. During the holidays, its red and white colors make it nice to present while trimming the tree.

American Institute for Cancer Research

Red Berry Pudding with Cream

Ingredients:

•10-ounces frozen raspberries, room temperature

•16-ounces frozen strawberries, room temperature

•2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

•1/3 cup sugar,

•plus 2 teaspoons, divided

•2 tablespoons sliced almonds

•1/4 cup light cream, chilled

Directions:

Set sieve over mixing bowl. Pour defrosted fruits and their juices into strainer. Dip out 3 tablespoons of combined juices and whisk cornstarch into berry juice until smooth. Set mixture aside.

Using a wooden spoon, push defrosted berries through strainer. When mashed pulp clings in a ball inside strainer, discard it. Measure pureed fruit and juices (about 2 cups) and pour into heavy, medium stainless steel saucepan. Combine with cornstarch mixture and 1/3 cup sugar.

Set pot over medium-high heat and cook, whisking frequently, until berry mixture thickens and looks glossy, about 5 minutes. Take care not to let it boil.

Divide hot pudding among

4 small dessert dishes rinsed in cold water and drained but not dried. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of remaining sugar over top of each serving to prevent a skin from forming.

Let pudding sit until room temperature. Cover and refrigerate to chill. This dessert keeps, covered in refrigerator, up to 3 days.

To serve, sprinkle sliced almonds over top of pudding. Spoon

1 tablespoon of cream over each serving, or pass it separately.

Servings: 4

Nutrition information per serving: 206 calories, 3 g total fat

(2 g saturated fat), 45 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 9 mg sodium.