Griesmeelpudding met bessensaus

Every now and then I come across a recipe in my Dutch cookbooks that surprises me once I try it. A traditional dessert called "griesmeelpudding" (grits pudding) sounded old-fashioned even when I was a little girl. My grandma never even made it, that's how old fashioned it was, imagine that!

My mom doesn't care for dairy so our milky desserts were few and far between. Come to think of it, we never ate much dessert, as neither my mom nor my grandma cared for sweets. I guess I've made up for both :-)

Anyway, "griesmeelpudding" did not sound appetizing, partly because of its perceived high "last century" factor, partly because the name "gries" (grits) forms also, phonetically, the first syllable for the verb "griezelen", i.e. shudder in horror ( a "griezelfilm" is a horror movie). Kids would often refer to the pudding as "griezelpudding" and would not eat it. No wonder!

But in my quest to cover the traditional Dutch kitchen, I cannot circumvent something so typically Dutch. And after deliberately cooking and baking twenty other things, I've finally come full circle and decided to tackle the griesmeelpudding. And I am SO glad I did!!

There is something inheritently comforting in the smell of warm milk with sugar. I don't know if it's because my grandma would make "lammetjespap" for me every so often and it reminds me of being a child, or whether it's a nurturing thing. No clue. But when I stand over the stove, warming up milk and stirring sweet sugar into it, I get this homey, warm, fuzzy feeling, perfect for these cold days.

The "griesmeelpudding" is very similar to rice pudding, as we know it here in the United States, but the berry sauce most definitely adds a characteristic and flavorful angle to it.

For the pudding:
1 cup of grits
4 cups of milk
3/4 cup of sugar
1 slice of lemon peel, no pith
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

For the sauce:
1 can of cranberry-raspberry sauce (or a small jar of berry jam)
1 cup of apple juice
1/2 cinnamon stick

Bring the milk to a slow boil, add the lemon peel and the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add in the grits, bring back to a boil but keep stirring to prevent the milk from burning. Lower the heat and cook for about six to seven minutes or until the grits are gorged, but stir every so often to make sure the bottom doesn't burn. Stir in the vanilla.

Rinse the pudding form with cold water and, after removing the lemon peel, pour the grits into the form. Set it in the fridge to cool. It will take a good five hour to set: even better if you can leave it overnight.

When you're ready to serve dessert, add the contents of the cranberry sauce or the berry jam to a small saucepan, add the apple juice or water to thin the sauce and the cinnamon stick. Stir well, bring to a boil, then simmer for a good twenty minutes. Thicken with cornstarch if needed. I decided to put my sauce through a sieve in order to remove all the raspberry seeds, but that's purely a personal preference.

Pour some warm water over the outside of the pudding form, lightly loosen the sides of the pudding and invert the whole thing onto a plate. Pour the thick berry sauce on top and on the sides, and enjoy!


  1. It can be rewarmed but does not look so pretty. I did like it warm better but it is winter and anything warm is good.

    It is a definite comfort food. Very comfortable indeed.

    Again my mom and south Germany: I think they made it there with farina. This gives it a finer texture.. or maybe that was just what she told me to get me to eat left over Cream of Wheat.

    1. I grew up in the South (USA) and we often had grits with sugar and butter for breakfast. I will definitely try this since I love grits.

  2. Ik ga dit probeeren! Ben gek op griesmeelpudding!

    1. Wij vonden het te dik. Moesten er melk bij voegen Ik denk dichter bij 5 koppen melk, of zelfs 5.5 tegen 1 kop gries.
      Wij mengden ook gedroogde druiven en wat perzik bij. Als zoetstof gebruikte wij honing. Erg lekker.

  3. Hi Marcella! Let me know how it turned out, it's become one of my favorite easy to make and so flavorful, and very comforting. Thanks for stopping by, don't be a stranger!

  4. I grew up with the "cream of wheat" type griesmeel I think, always with almandelsmaak (spelling?)- almond flavouring added. My dad had a Dutch import store, so we always had a box of griesmeel mix handy. And we usually served it plain, no bessesap. Since I don't have griesmeel pudding mix in the house anymore, I add almond flavouring to my Bob's Red Mill Cream of Brown Rice cereal for that "griesmeel" feeling! My favourite pudding and comfort food!

  5. My mom used to make griesmeelpudding, but instead of bessensaus, she made it with citroensaus. I wonder if I have that recipe somewhere?

  6. Nicole, I was wondering if you had a recipe for vanillevla? I adore that, but haven't ever been able to make it.

  7. Definitely a favorite. My Mom made it with Cream of Wheat. And the bessensap adds a special flavor. I believe it was made from currents. Yumm!

  8. I did some research some time ago on the griesmeel pudding, indeed as a substitute I used grits for making it (since I had those available) but somehow it just was not the same, I went to look deeper into it and indeed as stated by several others the 'proper' griesmeel is made with wheat and not grits, which are corn
    also the most known version is the almond one, so I would also add some almond essence to the recipe (and maybe leave out the lemon peel) I love your sauce recipe!!!!

    1. Griesmeel is granular milled wheat, spelt, corn or rice. The Dutch kitchen traditionally uses wheat griesmeel, made from soft wheat, with a slightly larger granule size. Farina, found on the market as Cream of Wheat or Malt-o-Meal, would be the closest American substitute to Dutch wheat griesmeel but its granules are slightly smaller. Ideally, we'd have something right in the middle: smaller than grits, but larger than farina. Semolina doesn't count because it's made from durum wheat and is yellow-ish. I prefer the mouthfeel that grits give, since they are slightly larger, and did not find the taste to affect the final product. I'm currently working on a bitterkoekjes griesmeelpudding (the almond version)made with farina so will post a recipe soon! Thanks for your comments!!

    2. Lovely recipe! I do think semolina is the direct translation for griesmeel. And I remember griesmeelpudding to be slightly yellow, so it might work with semolina? I'll try and let you know :-)

    3. Dear people, i am from holland however i have arabic routs and we cook allot with semolina flower. That is also what the dutch griesmeelpudding is made with it is litterally translated to semolina. Since i live in Curacao and the stores here don't sell semolina i always bring it from the US or Holland. Use the finest one you can find, it is available in any large grocery store since it is the same type of wheat as is used for pasta. What we also add in is fresh vanilla bean, cinnamon and cream!

      Good luck!

  9. I am cooking up some right now.
    I used 1/2 corn meal (goya brand) and 1/2 grits (quaker - old fashioned)
    I am upping the cooking time.
    I will be using a jar of red current jelly/jam for the sauce.
    I hope it turns out!
    no mold so a glass bowl it is!
    After reading the comments I think I would have used 3/4 farina & 1/4 quick grits.

  10. It was delicious...a bit soft but taste was spot on!

  11. made this today. Very good. I used a tulband form with a hole in the middle. You can fill it up with fruit etc.

    I have made this before with semolina and polenta but grits are the best. They keep their crunchyness.


    1. Wout, I agree, grits seem to work best for me too, but different people like different things :-) Love the idea of using a tulband form!

  12. Dutch Girl Dinners- my blog created to pass my recipes to my grandchildren....almond griefs eel is made with semolina, fine ground middle of the wheat kernel. I loved it when I was a girl, had it for breakfast instead of oatmeal at least once a is very good for you, make it with water instead of milk less calories, made it less like a pudding and more like soft polenta- like cereal

  13. Darn these correct as you go spelling I wrote griesmeel not griefs eel!

  14. Hi from Cyprus.. looked with interest at your old recipe in Cyprus we also make something on similar lines, using Semolina.. Especially when fasting (pre-Christmas also Lenten fast before Easter.

    🔸 We sauté on low the semolina in a little sunflower oil until a light toasted golden colour, then add coarsly chopped almonds -with or without skin and gently stir until almonds get a little colour.

    🔸In another saucpan a sugar syrup is made.. the ratio can be for every cup of semolina used in recipe
    4cups water-to 1 cup sugar is used for sugar syrup.

    🔸When making the syrup, add 3-4 cloves, a stick of cassia or cinnamon bring to a gentle heat, let boil for a minute then add half a cup of Rosewater, turn off heat.
    🔸then simultaneously take semolina off heat and add the hot syrup, using a seive to collect spices, immediately start stirring, putting mixture back on low medium heat until bubbles appear, immediately put into a fluted dish as shown in your recipe and add toasted almond as garnish( toast almonds in small pan with just a wiping of oil on kitchen tissue until fragrant)
    🔸hope you find this traditional Cypriot dessert interesting !

  15. Made some recently using semolina and made red currant sauce with fresh red currants. Is there a way to add pictures?

  16. It was a treat when my grandmother made this dessert, but only for me nobody in the rest of the family liked it. She put in chopped almonds and almond flavor I’m thinking. And of course the berry sauce that she made from fresh berries. I absolutely loved it. So my grandmother and I ate the pudding. I still have the form she put it in, but I have never made it. I am inspired now!


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