In a Danish home, Christmas Eve is synonymous with ris à 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.
“Like 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 huge–and rather tacky–ceramic cupcake that I bought at a garage sale in D.C. many years ago. It has since become part of the tradition.”
– CHRISTINA MARKUS LASSEN, AMBASSADOR OF DENMARK
🇩🇰 Denmark: Risalamande
- 4 Cups Whole milk
- ⅔ Cup Rice Arborio or similar
- 1 Vanilla bean pod or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- ⅕ Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Almonds slivered
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ¾ Cups Heavy whipping cream
- 1 ½ Cups Pitted fresh cherries or frozen cherries plus ½ cup of water
- 3 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Port wine
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup ice water
- 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.
- 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!