Risalamande served at the Louisiana Museum Café (Humlebæk)

Risalamande is the most famous and traditional Danish Christmas dessert: a rice pudding with vanilla, almonds and whipped cream, typically served together with warm cherry sauce. The word Risalamande comes from the French ‘Riz à l’amande’, which means ‘rice with almonds’. Risalamande is preferably served as a Christmas dessert right after the dinner on Christmas eve with family. 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 that is both a very delicious dessert and a funny game: it contains a lot of chopped almonds, but tradition goes that the person who makes the dessert leaves one almond unchopped. This extra whole almond is now mixed into the Risalamande, and when the dessert is served the person who gets the whole almond in his/hers serving wins a prize, typically a smaller present worth about 15-20€.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dessert Servings: 4 people

Rice pudding
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 (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.
Add it to the cold rice pudding and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream into whipped cream and gently mix it with the rice pudding. The Risalamande is now done. Put it in the fridge until serving.

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.

Risalamande served at Kadetten Café (Helsingør)