Monday, December 26, 2016

Risalamande (Danish Rice Pudding with Cherry Sauce)



I hope you're having a wonderful holiday with family and friends. We had my husband's mother, sister and her husband to our house for Christmas dinner. My husband's father's side of the family is from Denmark, so when I discovered this traditional Danish Christmas dessert (that is also gluten free!), I knew it was going to be the perfect ending to our holiday dinner. Risalamande (rice pudding with almonds) is served cold and topped with a warm cherry sauce. The pudding itself has no sugar in it, but the whipped cream that gets folded into and the cherry topping are both sweetened. Overall, this is not a very sweet dessert.

The Danish tradition is to add a whole almond to the risalamande. Whoever gets the whole almond in their serving wins a prize. Since Paul and I were hosting, I served our bowls first to make sure we didn't get the almond. Then I buried it in one of the three remaining desserts. I had my husband, who wasn't in the kitchen when I did this, serve the dessert to our guests. My brother-in-law was the lucky winner of the prize -- a jar of Maine wild blueberry Champagne jam (little did I know, blueberry is one of his favorites!).

I just love traditions! I would be happy to have risalamande every year for Christmas dessert, and the game of finding the whole almond and winning a little gift is quite fun. 

Here is the recipe for those of you who would like to make this dessert next Christmas, whether you are of Danish lineage or not. You can always make risalamande at other times of the year as well. In fact, I think it would make a nice New Year's dessert.

Risalamande

Ingredients:
1 cup short-grained white rice (I used arborio rice)
1/2 cup water

4-1/4 cups whole milk
2 vanilla beans, scored lengthwise and seeds scraped
Pinch of salt
5 ounces almonds, blanched and coarsely chopped (set aside one whole almond)
2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar

Directions:
1) In a saucepan, combine the rice and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 2 minutes, stirring as needed.

2) Add the milk to the rice and bring to a boil, stirring. Add the vanilla bean seeds and pods (the pods will add flavor and will be removed later) and salt. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight lid and let cook for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

3) Remove pan from heat. Remove the vanilla bean pods and discard. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and let cool. Stir in the chopped, blanched almonds. The pudding up to this point can be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated.

Note: If you bought almonds already blanched, consider yourself lucky. I had to blanch mine and it was quite a chore. According to directions I found online, you are to put the almonds in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let sit a minute or two, then drain. Supposedly the skins should come right off when rubbed between your fingers or a paper towel. Well, mine didn't. I stood there for I don't know how long peeling skins from the almonds. Sometimes I would get lucky and a large section would peel off (see below). Eventually my hands starting cramping so I gave up. I am estimating I used about 4.5 to 5 ounces of almonds. 

If you have a method for easy almond blanching, please share!!! Just click on "comments" at the bottom of this post.


4) Before serving, beat the cream with 3 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

   
Cherry Sauce

The sauce can be made ahead and reheated in a saucepan just before serving.

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. frozen dark sweet cherries (buying them already pitted will save you lots of time)
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or the scraped seeds from 1 vanilla bean)
3 tablespoons pure cornstarch (I use Argo brand)

Directions:
1) In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar, water and vanilla over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and let cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2) In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with a enough water to make a thin paste. Slowly add it to the cherry sauce and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Serve warm over the risalamande.

 

9 comments:

  1. So happy you are having a wonderful time with your extended family. I love traditions like your hidden whole almond! We do something similar at New Year's - jelly-filled donuts - but one gets filled with sharp mustard. The person who gets that one has luck in the coming year! Every year we hatch a plan so that some unsuspecting guest ends up with it, just so we can see their reaction.

    Regarding your almonds, they need a little more heat than just boiling water poured over them. I put mine in a small saucepan with water, bring to a full boil for a minute or two. Take one out and check it - the skin should have completely loosened - just giving it a little squeeze will pop the almond right out. I simply boil, drain into a colander, and get to work right away. I don't bother to rinse with cold water, rather I prefer to work quickly with hot almonds, and simply leave them to dry on a paper towel.

    Are you both off this entire week? If so, enjoy your time together!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the tip on blanching almonds! If I cannot find them already blanched next time, I will follow your directions and I'm sure I'll have better luck.

      I am off through Wednesday, but my husband goes back to work tomorrow. Then we'll have another long weekend, and then my birthday week, and then I'll be off for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. I love this time of year! Happy New Year to you.
      Claudia

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  2. This looks heavenly!!!! We all love rice pudding here, and this would be a great variation. Daughter and significant other are arriving on Thursday, and I practically brought her up on rice pudding! so I might try it. I have to go to Whole Foods tomorrow and surely they will have blanched almonds, right? I will let you know. many thanks! and Happy New Year Claudia!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year to you, Libby. I hope you do try this recipe and that you enjoy it as much as we did. It's quite lovely with the sweetened whipped cream folded in, and the cherry sauce is divine. Enjoy your time with family!
      Claudia

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  3. This looks so delicious- I really feel like I can taste it. My mom has always made rice pudding but I have not heard of this recipe with the whipped cream folded in and topped with cherry sauce. Simply gorgeous! Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello there! Ask your aunt if she has ever made it. She has probably heard of it. From what I read online, it sounds like a very traditional Danish recipe. It's very tasty. Let me know if you try it.
      Claudia

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  4. This looks delicious! I can't wait to make it for my Danish father. I enjoy your blog and look forward to new updates. My husband and I just purchased our first home (a 1927 bungalow!) and I love reading back through your home-related posts.

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    Replies
    1. Hello, so nice to hear from you. I am glad you'll be making this for your father. Was he born in Denmark? Good luck with your '27 bungalow. I hope you have many happy years there! Thanks for your comment.
      Claudia

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  5. This looks delicious! I love rice pudding but never had this version with cherries! Yum!

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