Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Something Danish for your Christmas table? Risalamande or Rice and Almond Pudding with Warm Cherry Compote

Risalamande / Danish rice pudding with cherry sauce / Taani riisipuder sooja kirsikastmega
October 2012, photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the December issue of Kodu ja Aed, 2012

From the recipe archives (originally posted in January 2007)

At the tender age of 18 I moved to Denmark for a year as an exchange student. Wide-eyed and over-excited, I enjoyed the experience a lot. It was quite a life-changing experience. I didn't see my friends and family for almost a year, so I had to adjust to the new environment, make new friends and generally grow up quickly. At the age of 18, this was definitely something to cherish.

A new country meant lots of new foods, too (and over 10 kg extra weight upon return, sadly). Usually, the Danes would try to impress the exchange students by introducing them to 'typical' Danish items of kartofler med frikadeller (potatoes with meat balls) and rugbrød og leverpostej (rye bread and liver pate). Although delicious, these didn't impress me as such, as they're staple foods in in Estonia, too. But I had my first quiche, my first hotdog, my first spring roll and my first lasagne while in Denmark.

Whereas I broadened my international culinary horizons during that year, I also fell in love with one particularly Danish dish. You see, the Danes have the most delicious pudding for Christmas - risalamande or enriched rice pudding served with warm cherry compote. Risalamande contains either chopped or flaked almonds, and one whole almond is hidden in one of the bowls. The person who finds the almond will receive a special gift. You need to eat this pudding carefully, as you need to tell a whole almond from a chopped one by gently 'testing it' on your tongue. I guess you'll lose the gift if you can't show a whole almond, you see?!

I distinctly remember that when my host-mother 'mor Kirsten' served risalamande for the Christmas meal, every single child at the table found a whole almond in their pudding and none of the adults did.

What a coincidence, eh??

[PS Fancy a rice pudding and some chocolate? Try Pierre Hermé's Chocolate Rice Pudding (Feb 2006)]

(Mandliriis kirsikastmega)
Serves 8

Risalamande / Danish Christmas Rice Pudding / Õnnemandliga riisidessert
December 2009

Rice porridge:
1 litre of full milk (2.5% or 3.5% fat)
150 grams short-grain porridge rice
1 vanilla pod

To enrich the porridge:
500 ml whipping cream (35%)
100 grams of almond flakes (or blanched and chopped almonds)
1 whole almond (blanched or not; you may need more if you've got children eating)
2 to 3 Tbsp sugar

Cherry compote:
a large jar of stoneless cherries in syrup (370/680 grams)
1 heaped Tbsp cornflour/corn starch/Maizena
2 Tbsp cold water

First, make the rice porridge. Slowly bring the milk to a boil. Rinse the rice in cold running water, drain and add to the boiling milk together with the vanilla pod. Stir gently until the milk comes to the boil again, then reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 45-60 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the milk and become soft. Cool completely.

Whisk the cream and sugar, and fold into cooled porridge together with almonds. Add more sugar, if you wish.

To make the cherry compote, bring the cherries and syrup to the boil in a small saucepan. Mix the cornstarch with cold water, stir into the cherry compote and simmer for a few minutes, until the sauce thickens a little.

Serve the cold rice and almond porridge with a warm cherry compote. And remember the extra gift to the lucky one with a whole almond in their pudding!
  Risalamande: Danish Christmas dessert with rice and almonds / Taani mandli-riisidessert kirsikastmega

December 2008


Anonymous said...

Mmmm, kõlab maitsvalt... ja lihtalt :)

Anonymous said...

I bought the Pierre Herme book and have tried making the chocolate rice pudding, it was good! This cherry porridge looks good too!
Happy New Year!

Jeanne said...

Oh wow! That looks like the most heavenly comfort food! A friend of mine in South Africa is just crazy about rice pudding - I will be forwarding this on to her :-)

Zarah Maria said...

Yum, risalamande! You know, the funny thing is, we never, ever (in my family, anyways) would contemplate eating it on any other day than Christmas Eve. I have no idea why, but that's just how it is - eh. Oh, and, um... I don't think I've ever made cherry sauce myself - I always buy it in cartons, tee-hee! Better bookmark this recipe...
Also - that's not true, with the Danish Pille! I was impressed with how much you remembered - Danish isn't exactly the easiest of languages!:-)

Alanna Kellogg said...

Yum indeed! And another thing we've got in common: exchange students! I didn't realize this was expressly Danish. Not the rice pudding, no? But the addition of the cherry sauce?

Anonymous said...

This porridge looks so nice. I will HAVE to try this. P. has been asking for riz au lait, and i just managed to buy gooseberries. Don't ask me where they are from, not in season in MA for sure, but I just could not resist!

Anonymous said...

Looks yummy! There's an equivalent in Sweden, Ris à la Malta, but withouth the almonds.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! I really like this dessert, it is very typical in Sweden at Christmas time and we had it in the Swedish julbord this year.

Pille said...

Thredahlia - tõepoolest:) Kusjuures üks külalistest ei söö nt üldse riisiputru, aga seda magusrooga nõudis 2 kausitäit:)

K & S - have you tried anything else from PH's book yet? And please do try this rice pudding, too!

Jeanne - thanks! Let me know what your friend thought of it.

Zarah Maria - I'm afraid I might make it outside Christmas season, too - it was so easy and delicious..

Alanna - yes, I was an exchange student in DK:) Re: risalamande - maybe it's the addition of cream & almonds & cherry sauce that makes it a Danish pudding?

Bea - will you blog about riz au lait soon? K's mum has lots of preserved gooseberries that she serves us on our Sunday visits. I could nick some and serve with my rice pudding:)

Dagmar - thanks for clarifing!

Orchidea - did you use almonds, too?

Mathew Sanders said...

Thanks for the recipe... I'm in NZ but my dad's partner makes risalamande every Christmas eve... I'm making it tomorrow for a mid-winter christmas party yum yum!

Pille said...

Mathew - it's mid-summer here, and I'm still having trouble comprehending that it's mid-winter Down Under:) Hope you'll like this!

Anonymous said...

Mmm, Taani köök ja lisakilod, neist me rohkem ei räägi... Kuigi jõulu ajal ootab ees 2 nädalat Taanis just sellise "dieedi" peal :-)
Pisike trükiviga ainult, rugbrød, mitte ryg :-)

Mary Bergfeld said...

This is a beautiful dessert. You've combined your flavors really well. Thanks for sharing.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

oh this looks sensational Pille. I really love rice pudding and enjoy seeing all the internatioanl variations.

Dewi said...

Goodness me,
Rice pudding never sounded this gooood!

Anonymous said...

Mm, I love Danish winter food. Can't wait to try this one!

Kirsten said...

Yeah!!!! I'm a Danish-American homesick in Australia. My family does the pork roast, carmelized potatoes, cabbage, and rice pudding every Christmas Eve and Smorgebord on Christmas. I have been desperately missing my Danish Christmas and tonight just made the pork roast and potatoes. Found your rice pudding and can't wait to make it and taste a little bit of my family!!! xxxx

Anonymous said...

We had this every Christmas eve when we lived in Denmark. We would begin with risengrød for lunch - a rice porridge cooked in milk, served with butter, sugar and cinnamon. Now in California, we don't make the riz à l'amande for our dessert anymore, but we still make risengrød for lunch on the 24th!

Brilynn said...

I went on exchange to France for 3 months when I was 15 and it was a similarly wonderful experience where I enjoyed way too much of the food!

Dagmar said...

I finally had Danish risalamande at our company Christmas dinner in Copenhagen last week and it was delicious, especially with the warm cherry sauce.

Anonymous said...

Yay! A fellow rice porridge fan! I've been mandated by my (Norwegian) father to make this for Christmas eve - apparently the almond is deeply symbolic as well as a marzipan pig (!), so thank you for this inspiring recipe. Love the photo, looks infinitely more glamorous than rice porridges of Christmas past :-)

Anonymous said...

Looks really special.

Merry Christmas!


Jeanne said...

What a wonderful story about the kids and their whole almonds - and a great looking dessert. I'm still fascinated by the fact that the Danish and Afrikaans word for meatballs is practically identical....

Pille said...

Kairi - aitäh trükikuradile viitamise eest, parandasin ära :) Ja igapäevane risalamande võis tõesti kehakaalule hävitavalt mõjuda. Loodetavasti on nüüdseks juba maha kulutet :)

Mary - thank you for your kind words!

MeetaK - it's the martini glass, trust me. The dessert itself is very simple and humble..

Elra - I know :)

Parsnips aplenty - Danes - as well as other Nordic people - really know how to warm their hearts and stomachs during the cold months..

Kirsten - hope you enjoyed the risalamande!!

Lynda - risalamande is a wonderful way to use up leftover risengrød, of course!

Brilynn - great to hear that other foodbloggers have been on exchange (and not just in culinary sense)

Dagmar - but you've had the Ris a la Malta, for sure? That seems to be popular in Sweden?

Signe - I forgot about the marzipan pig - they had those in DK as well!!

Paz - thank you for your lovely wishes

Jeanne- frikadeller??