What is traditional Risalamande (Danish Rice Pudding Dessert)
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.
See also: Recipe for normal Danish Rice Pudding
Risalamande is more or less only served as a Christmas dessert right after the dinner on 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) inside Risalamande
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.
How to make the original Risalamande from Denmark
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.
When the rice pudding is ready 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 spend an hour boiling and preparing the rice pudding. This is properly the most traditional Danish Christmas dessert you can have. Enjoy!
- 2.25 dl short-grained white rice (pudding rice)
- 1 dl water
- 1 l milk
- 2 vanilla beans (the seeds)
- 150 g almonds
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 5 dl heavy cream
- 1 can cherry sauce (for topping)
Danish rice pudding (The Risalamande version)
- In a saucepan; add rice and water. Heat up and let it boil for about 2 minutes.
- Add the milk to the pudding and heat up until boiling under constantly stirring.
- Add the seeds from the vanilla beans. This is done by slicing the vanilla beans and scrape out the seeds using a knife. Mix the vanilla with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Also, add the empty vanilla beans to the pudding (they still have a lot of flavor).
- Let the pudding simmer under a lid at low heat. The rice has a tendency to burn to the saucepan so remember to stir regularly. Let it simmer for about 35 minutes.
- Remove the empty vanilla beans. The rice pudding is now done. Let it cool in the fridge before you proceed to make the Risalamande. You can with advantage make this rice pudding the day in advance.
- Heat some water until boiling point and pour it in a small bowl. Add the almonds and let them soak in the hot water for about 5-7 minutes. One-by-one take the almonds up and press them between two fingers so that the peel separates from the almond. Add more hot water if needed. It should be easy to skin the almonds.
- Coarsely chop the almonds and mix them with the cold rice pudding.
- If you used the original recipe for rice pudding (and not the one in this recipe) and boiled the rice pudding without the vanilla beans, then add the seeds of the beans to the pudding now. Add it to the cold rice pudding and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream into whipped cream and gently mix the it with the rice pudding. The Risalamande is now done. Put it in the fridge until serving.