Risalamande has been served on Christmas Eve in Denmark since around 1900. As I am half Danish I remember always feeling quite lucky as a child to have two Christmas celebrations! The first was on Christmas Eve where we had a traditional Danish meal usually with goose or duck and Risalamand followed by singing Danish songs (mum playing piano) and dancing around the Christmas tree which was lit with traditional white candles (never a problem)! Then we’d open our presents and often go off to the midnight service (when I got a bit older). The next day we’d go to my English grandparents and have a traditional English Christmas meal (always turkey and my gran’s homemade Christmas Pudding) and more presents. As a child I didn’t liking any rice or semolina based desserts but the thing that got me eating Risalamande was the hidden almond because if you found that you won a prize! I remember one particular Christmas at one of my aunt’s houses in Denmark seeing a gorgeous marzipan pig and being the worlds No 1 marzipan fan I’d have done anything to win it. I must have eaten 3 bowls of Risalamande but to no avail, sadly my morfar (granddad) was the lucky winner. I seem to remember he didn’t even choose the pig as his prize but a box of cigars!
Anyway as I grew older I learned to appreciate Risalamande and have usually left it to my mum to make. This year I decided to make my own interpretation of my mother’s recipe which was a few scribbled notes I’d make many years ago. After a couple of trials I am happy with this version as my hubby was a great critic telling me that my first attempt wasn’t like my mother’s version! It also didn’t help that the frozen cherries I bought for my first attempt were sour (which I didn’t notice until after I’d cooked them). So check the packaging when purchasing, you need sweet cherries!
Every Dane has their version of Risalamande and the two stipulations that my mother has are that there aren’t too many chopped almonds in the rice pudding (otherwise too bitty) and also that it isn’t too sweet as the cherry sauce provides the sweet contrast to the creamy rice pudding.
It just remains for me to wish you all A Very Happy Christmas! xx
- For the Risalamand:
- 1 ltr Full fat milk
- 100g Pudding rice
- 2 tbsp Caster sugar (I keep a vanilla pod in mine)
- 2 tbsp Sherry
- 15g Flaked almonds, chopped
- 1 whole almond
- 250 mls Whipping cream
- Flaked almonds to decorate (optional)
- For the Cherry Sauce:
- 350g Frozen cherries
- 400 mls Water
- 80g Caster sugar
- 2 tbsp High juice blackcurrant squash
- 1 ½ tbsp Potato flour or cornflour
- 1 ½ tbsp Ice cold water
- For Risalamande:
- Put milk into a non-stick pan and bring to almost simmering point – add the rice.
- Keeping the heat low (probably lowest setting) cook the rice for 30 minutes with the lid on stirring at regular intervals. (Very important not to burn).
- Then remove lid and cook for further 15 - 20 minutes simmering and stirring until rice is cooked and porridge like.
- Once cooked stir in the caster sugar, sherry and chopped almonds into the rice porridge.
- Put in a bowl to cool and then refrigerate until chilled. (Overnight is fine).
- Whip the cream into soft peaks
- Fold a little cream into the rice porridge to loosen it and then carefully fold the rest of the cream in, then add the whole almond.
- Place in a glass serving dish and decorate with a few flaked almonds if wished and put back in fridge to thoroughly chll..
- For Cherry Sauce:
- Put the cherries, water, sugar and blackcurrant squash in a pan, bring to the boil then turn down heat to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Mix the potato flour and 2 tbsp ice cold water together to form a paste and lowering the heat stir into the cherries cooking for another minute to thicken.
- Take off the heat, put in a bowl and serve with the Risalamande warm or cold (any leftover sauce can be re-heated)..