The delicious Danish rice pudding, locally known as Risalamande (literally meaning rice with almonds), is much more than a dessert: it is a Danish holiday custom. It is part of a long-standing tradition by which a whole almond is hidden inside the pudding and the lucky person who finds it receives a prize. While the prize is traditionally a marzipan pig, it may also be a chocolate heart, a board game, or a toy. Part of the game is withholding that you have found the almond so that you everyone finishes their portions in search of the almond, despite being full after a decadent Christmas meal.
Traditionally, a large portion of rice pudding is made on lillejuleaften, (the 23rd, which is known as small Christmas Eve) and a portion of it is reserved to make the Risalamande on the 24th. The dish is then served as dessert on Christmas Day.
The Risalamande is known for being richer and creamier than normal rice pudding. This, in addition to the fun tradition associated with it, makes it the perfect Christmas day treat for anyone looking to delight their guests by branching out on their Christmas meal traditions.
What you need to know
Preparation Time: 90 Minutes
Makes: 4 portions
For the Rice Pudding:
- 1 cup short-grained white rice
- 4.25 cups milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 vanilla beans
For the Risalamande:
- 1 portion rice pudding
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 150g almonds
- 2 tbsp sugar
For the Cherry Sauce:
- 1 jar pitted morello cherries in their syrup
- 1/4 cup cherry liqueur
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
For the Rice Pudding (I recommend you make this the night before):
- Mix the rice and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Allow mixture to boil for two minutes.
- Add the milk and bring to boil while stirring.
- Scrape seeds from the vanilla beans and add them to the mixture. You can also add the scraped beans to the mixture for more flavour.
- Lower the heat and place lid on the saucepan.
- Allow the mixture to boil for 35 minutes.
- Remove the vanilla beans
- Place in the fridge to cool.
For the Risealamande:
- Boil a large quantity of water and pour it in a bowl.
- Add the almonds and let them soak for about 5 minutes. (Leave one out so that you can add it later for a lucky winner to find).
- Rinse and place each almond between your fingers to peel off the skin.
- Chop the almonds coarsely. Add them to the cooled rice pudding mixture.
- Add the sugar to the rice pudding mixture. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer until it thickens to become whipped cream.
- Add the whipped cream to the rice pudding.
- Place in the fridge until serving time.
For the Cherry Topping (I recommend preparing this just before the serving so that it stays warm):
- Drain the cherries to collect the syrup. Place the syrup in a saucepan.
- Add the sugar.
- In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the water.
- Add this to the saucepan and mix.
- Bring to boil while continuously stirring.
- Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes while stirring.
- Top the Risalamande and serve.