๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark: Risalamande

In a Danish home, Christmas Eve is synonymous with ris ร  l’amande: a pretty plain rice pudding made exotic by giving it a French-sounding name, adding vanilla, and lots of yummy pieces of almonds. And when you add the cherry sauce it is certainly a delicacy fit for a feast. To add to the excitement, we suggest adding one whole white almond. The lucky one who gets it will win a gift.

โ€œLike many Danes, I cannot imagine a Christmas Eve without risalamande! We all overeat to try to get the whole almond and win the gift! In my family, we serve the risalamande in a hugeโ€“and rather tackyโ€“ceramic cupcake that I bought at a garage sale in D.C. many years ago. It has since become part of the tradition.โ€


๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark: Risalamande

Servings 4 people
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling 4 hours


Rice Pudding

  • 4 Cups Whole milk
  • โ…” Cup Rice Arborio or similar
  • 1 Vanilla bean pod or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • โ…• Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Almonds slivered
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ยพ Cups Heavy whipping cream

Cherry Sauce

  • 1 ยฝ Cups Pitted fresh cherries or frozen cherries plus ยฝ cup of water
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Port wine
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch dissolved in ยผ cup ice water


Rice Pudding

  • Pour milk and rice into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, stir for a few more minutes and cover with a lid.
  • Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the vanilla seeds. Mix the vanilla seeds with a bit of the sugar on a cutting board, to disperse the vanilla seeds into the sugar.
  • Add sugar, vanilla bean sugar, and the entire empty vanilla pod to the pan. Stir and let the rice porridge simmer gently for 45-50 minutes, stirring regularly, until the rice is tender.
  • Cover the rice porridge and let it cool completely for at least 4 hours in the fridge or overnight.

Cherry Sauce

  • Place cherries, water, sugar, butter, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 3 minutes. Add in the port wine.
  • Mix the cornstarch into the ice water and add a little bit at a time to the cherry sauce mixture, stirring continually until the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute.
  • Serve lukewarm with risalamande.
  • Cover and store in the friede, where it will keep for up to a week.


  • When ready to serve the risalamande, remove the vanilla pod from the porridge, add a pinch of salt, and combine. Mix in the slivered almonds.
  • Whip the cream until light and fluffy. Fold into the rice porridge.
  • Serve as individual portions, topping each with desired amount of cherry sauce. Enjoy!


Recipe courtesy of the Danish Seamen’s Church in New York.

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