Translated literally as “rice with almonds,” this traditional Danish Christmas dish is a favorite in our household. Typically served on Christmas Eve, this dessert also serves as a game with guests. When prepared, a single whole almond is mixed into the pudding and the guest who finds the almond in their dish receives a prize.
The ingredients and recipe I used were brought over from Denmark by my mother-in-law, so obviously I had to find the closest American equivalents for this recipe. I’d recommend using the European measurements because they’re more accurate. (It’s very easy to use a kitchen scale to weigh the number of grams used and your standard measuring cup will have mL on the other side.)
1 Cup (190g) short grain white rice
1 Cup (250 mL) water
1 tsp salt
4 1/4 Cup (1 L) milk
50 g chopped (or sliced) almonds
6-8 tsp vanilla sugar (alternative: 2 tsp vanilla extract + 1/4 C sugar)
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp sugar (or honey, for an amazing flavor)
2 Cups (300g) pitted sour cherries with syrup
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tb cornstarch
1 Tb water
- Boil water and add rice, cooking for two minutes. Reduce heat and add milk. Stir constantly (so your milk doesn’t burn to the sides of the pot). You’ll need to cook for about 30-35 minutes. Obviously, your wrist is going to get tired, so what I did was set a timer and stir every five minutes, keeping the pot covered in the meantime.
- Once your rice pudding has fully cooked, scrape it into a large bowl. Stir in the almonds and vanilla sugar (add more or less to your taste). Refrigerate for 4+ hours (overnight is best). You’ll want your almonds to soak up the moisture from the rice pudding as it cools down.
- Just before you pull the rice pudding out of the fridge, make the whipped cream. Pre-made is fine if you’re in a hurry, but nothing quite beats the taste of homemade whipped cream. (I’ve been sweetening mine with honey and the flavor is amazing.) Whip the cream together with your sweetener of choice in a medium bowl, either by hand or with an electric beater. Fold the whipped cream gently into the rice pudding. Set aside and refrigerate.
- I used a jar of sour cherries from Aldi for this, but you could probably get away with a can of cherry pie filling. (Whatever you use, make sure your cherry sauce is tart to offset the sweetness of the rice pudding.) Heat up the cherries and syrup in a small saucepan. Add the sugar and lemon juice. To thicken the sauce, whisk together the corn starch and water together in a separate little dish. Pour into the cherry mixture while stirring on a low heat. The sauce will thicken.
- You can go the traditional route and serve the risalamande in a large bowl and simply pour the cherry sauce on top (don’t forget to hide that whole almond). I put individual servings in small glasses before pouring the cherry sauce on top so you could see the beautiful layers. Either way, your guests will enjoy this absolutely sumptuous dessert! Bon Apetite!