Risalamande has been a beloved Christmas Eve dessert in Denmark for over a century. From around 1900, the upper class began serving Risalamande with cherry sauce for Christmas instead of rice porridge, or Risengrød. This follows a typical Danish Christmas Eve dinner which consists of roasted pork or duck served with boiled and glazed potatoes, braised red cabbage and brown sauce.
Risengrød is the Danish traditional Christmas dish which directly translated means Rice pudding. In many families a large batch of rice pudding is made on the 23rd of December, or Lillejuleaften (little Christmas Eve), where some of it is eaten for dinner and the rest is saved for the 24th. On the day of Christmas Eve the rice pudding is ramped up - mixed with vanilla, whipped cream and chopped almonds and served as the creamy, hearty and very delicious Christmas dessert Risalamande.
If you are making this rice pudding for Risalamande, add the vanilla from 1-2 vanilla beans and the empty bean to the rice pudding while boiling it. Also leave out the salt. When the rice pudding is ready then add sugar, whipped cream and chopped almonds. The dessert is normally served with warm cherry sauce and looks as good as it tastes.
Traditionally, the person who makes the dessert leaves one almond unchopped. When the dessert is served, the person who gets the whole almond in their dish wins a prize - usually another serve of Risalamande!
250 grams (1 + 1/3 cup) short grain glutinous rice - risotto (Arborio) works well
250 ml (1 cup) water
1.1 litre (about 4 + 1/3 cup) milk (may need a little more or less)
- Salt to taste
Cinnamon sugar (for serving)
Butter (for serving)
- Put the water and salt in a large cooking pot and bring to the boil. Carefully add the rice and bring back to the boil. Continue boiling for a couple of minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add the milk, little by little, and then bring the mixture back to the boil again.
- Simmer on a low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Put the lid on the pot and simmer for a further 25 minutes, still stirring frequently to prevent it going into clumps or getting burned on the bottom of the cooking pot. If the rice pudding looks thin after that time, remove the lid and simmer for an extra 5 minutes.
- Serve the rice pudding topped with cinnamon sugar and a knob of butter.