Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45-60 minutes
Refrigeration time: 4 hours
Originally rice pudding (Risengrød) was considered a peasant dish found in rural areas, but in the 19th century, the citizens of Copenhagen decided to modernize Risengrød and turn it into a festive food with the addition of whipped cream, almonds and cherry sauce, giving rise to risalamande, almond rice, a name chosen for its French associations at a time when all things French were in vogue. Thus risalamande became the "official" dessert of Danish Christmas.
To make it even more special, a whole almond is hidden in the pudding. You have to eat carefully so as not to chew up the almond, because the person who finds it wins a little marzipan pig, chocolate heart or other treat - even a toy, if the winner is a child.
There are versions of this dessert in other Scandinavian countries. In Norway, for example, rice pudding is called riskrem and is generally served with raspberry sauce.
Hints and tips
(1) It depends on the texture of the syrup. If it is relatively thick, you don't need to add the cornstarch. The sauce is always served warm. Prepare it in advance and reheat for a minute in the microwave before serving the rice pudding.
(2) Heering, the purveyor to H.M. Queen Elizabeth II and to the Royal Danish Court, has been produced since 1818 and is the original cherry brandy. You can substitute another cherry brandy or liqueur, or even kirsch.
- Combine the milk, 6 Tbsp. sugar and the rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, add the split vanilla bean and let cook over low heat until the rice is tender and the mixture is quite thick, stirring often. Allow 30-40 minutes.
- Pour the rice into a bowl and allow to cool. Remove the vanilla bean and set aside.
- Mix in the crushed almonds and the whole almond.
- In a bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks with 2 Tbsp. sugar.
- Scrape the vanilla bean to remove the seeds.
- Add the vanilla and cream to the rice mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.
Cherry sauce - Kirsebaersov
- Drain the cherries and set aside.
- Reserve the liquid and place in a saucepan.
- Add 2 Tbsp. sugar (or more if using kirsch) and the cornstarch and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat.
- Add the cherries and the cherry liqueur. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Portion the pudding into serving dishes. Pour the cherry sauce on top while still warm. Serve immediately.
Hints & Tips