Risalamande (Danish Rice Pudding)
This recipe for Risalamande is properly the most famous and traditional Danish Christmas dessert that you can make. Risalamande is a rice pudding with vanilla, almonds and whipped cream, and it’s typically served together with warm cherry sauce. The word Risalamande comes from the French word Riz à l’amande, which directly translated means rice with almonds. There are many different ways of spelling the word, Ris a la mande, Ris à l’amande and Ris ala mande just to name some, however, we have been told that the most correct way should be Risalamande so that’s the way we spell it. Risalamande is more or less only served as a Christmas dessert right after the dinner at Christmas eve. In Denmark, and most of the Nordic and European countries, we celebrate Christmas at Christmas eve and not at Christmas day like in the US. The typical way of spending Christmas eve is getting together with family, have a nice Christmas dinner and exchange presents. The typical Danish Christmas eve dinner consist of roasted pork or duck served with boiled and glazed potatoes, braised red cabbage and brown sauce, and for dessert Risalamande.
Mandelgaven (the Almond Present)
When the Risalamande is serve it’s both a very delicious dessert and a funny game. The Risalamande contains a lot of chopped almonds. It’s a great tradition that the person who make the dessert leave one almond unchopped. This extra whole almond is now mixed into the Risalamande. When the dessert is served the person who gets the whole almond in his/hers serving wins a prize. The prize is typically a smaller present worth about 15-20$. Because the whole almond is hidden in the dessert this will often result in a lot of very full stomachs. If the almond is in the bottom of the bowl people normally keep eating until they have found the almond and won this prize – but that’s just a funny part of the game.
The Recipe for Risalamande
Risalamande is a very delicious and creamy dessert. It’s made by boiling rice, milk and vanilla into a rice pudding and then add sugar, whipped cream and chopped almonds. The dessert is normally served with warm cherry sauce and it’s super delicious. Some people make the rice pudding the day before Christmas eve and eat some of it for dinner – on the day of Christmas eve the leftovers, of the rice pudding, is mixed with sugar, whipped cream and almonds and served as the dessert after the Christmas dinner. This is a smart way to save some time in the kitchen on the busy Christmas eve because you don’t have to spent an hour boiling and preparing the rice pudding. This is properly the most traditional Danish Christmas dessert you can have. Enjoy!
Risalamande – Danish Rice Dessert for Christmas
Preparation time: 90 minutes
2.25 dl (1 cup) short-grained white rice (pudding rice)
1 dl (1/2 cup) water
1 liter (4.25 cups) milk
1-2 vanilla beans
1 portion Danish rice pudding
150 g (5.5 oz) almonds
2 tbsp sugar
5 dl (2 cups) heavy cream
Serve with cherry sauce
Start by making a portion of traditional Danish rice pudding. You can eat the traditional Danish rice pudding as it is, therefore we have made a separate recipe for rice pudding – however, you can also just follow the instructions below which is slightly changes because it’s used to make Risalamande. The only difference between the two recipes for rice pudding is that the Risalamande version of the rice pudding has vanilla in it and no salt. However, you can use both versions of the rice pudding recipes to make the Risalamande, we have done that many times.
Rice pudding (the Risalamande version)
Step 1: In a sauce pan add the rice and the water. Boil it for about 2 minutes.
Step 2: Add the milk to the pudding and let it boil while stirring.
Step 3: Add the vanilla from a vanilla bean. Also add the empty vanilla beans to the pudding they still have a lot of flavor.
Step 4: Boil the pudding under a lid at low heat. The rice have a tendency to burn to the sauce pan so remember to stir regularly. Let it boil lightly for about 35 minutes.
Step 5: Remove the vanilla beans. The rice pudding is now done. Let it cool of in the fridge before you proceed to make the Risalamande. You can with advantage make this rice pudding the day in advance.
Step 6: Boil some water and pour it in a small bowl. Add the almonds and let them soak in the hot water for about 5 minutes. One-by-one take the almonds up and press them between two finger so that the peel separates from the almond.
Step 7: Coarsely chop the almonds and mix them with the cooled rice pudding.
Step 8: If you used the completely traditional recipe for rice pudding and boiled the rice pudding without the vanilla beans, then add the vanilla of the beans to the pudding. This is done by slicing open the vanilla beans and scrape out the seeds using a knife. Mix the vanilla with 2 tablespoons of sugar, add it to the cold rice pudding and mix well.
Step 9: In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream into a whipped cream.
Step 10: Gently mix the whipped cream with the rice pudding.
Step 11: The Risalamande is now done. Put it in the fridge until serving.
Tip: Serve the Risalamande with some warm cherry sauce. If you want to play the traditional Danish almond-game (mandelgave), leave a whole almond without the peel in the Risalamande – who ever gets the whole almond wins a small prize.