The most traditional Danish Christmas Eve dessert, Risalamande, is a wonderfully creamy almond rice pudding served with a heaping topping of warm cherry sauce! The sweet rice is stewed in milk to create a creamy texture that is flavored with real vanilla beans. You fold in finely chopped almond and mounds of whipped cream. It is light, not overly sweet, and delicious!
This is a recipe for Danish Almond Rice pudding is passed down from my Danish Farmor (mother's- father) Lise. This recipe is near and dear to my heart. Our family enjoys this delectable dessert as a Christmas Eve tradition. The father that raised me is Danish and brought this light and creamy dessert into our family. We hope you love it as much as we do. This is a traditional Danish Christmas dessert, but you can enjoy it all year long!
- Arborio rice
- Chopped blanched almonds
- 1 whole blanched almond (read "Our Christmas Tradition" to see why)
- Heavy whipping cream
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla bean flicks from a vanilla bean pod ( OR, 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste) *not extract*
- Cherry Sauce, for serving
Where Can I Buy Whole Vanilla Beans
You can find whole vanilla beans at most grocery stores.
You can also BUY VANILLA BEANS HERE
The dishes and silverware you see in these photos are passed down from my Danish grandmother, Lise. We use them for special occasions such as, Christmas and Easter.
What Rice to Use for Danish Rice Pudding?
I recommend using Italian short-grain rice varieties such as Aroborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, and Baldo (Arborio is the most commonly found short-grain rice). Short-grain rice has a high starch content and tends to absorb less liquid, resulting in a stickier, rice pudding.
For a successful rice pudding, any substituted grain must possess the same basic qualities of Arborio rice. It must be high enough in amylose to maintain an al dente texture, even after long stovetop cooking. If you want that creamy rice pudding, I recommend using Arborio rice! Play it safe to get the result you desire!
Craving Italian Risotto? Try these RECIPES
What is Risalamande or Danish Rice Pudding?
Risengrød, or rice pudding, has been a beloved dish in Denmark for centuries, a dish enjoyed by rich and poor alike. But in the 1800’s, as was the case in most of Europe, there came a point when the upper-crusted bourgeoisie wanted to further distinguish themselves from the poorer, working classes and that distinction included food. But the bourgeoisie weren’t about to give up their beloved Risengrød. Yet to eat the common food of the poor farmers wouldn’t do either.
A solution was found: They would add some luxurious items like whipped cream and almonds and then give it a new name, a French name, of course, riz à l’amande, to give it an air of elegance.
Risalamande has remained one of the most popular of all Danish desserts ever since. It is probably the most popular Christmas dessert, served every Christmas Eve following dinner. The name comes from the French, riz à l’amande, which translates to “rice with almonds.” The finely chopped almonds are only one aspect of what sets this rice pudding apart from all others.
My personal favorite part is the vanilla whipped cream folded into the rice pudding with the bits of almond to add texture. Yum!
Our Christmas Tradition
The tradition of Danish Almond Rice Pudding (Risalamande): There’s a fun Christmas tradition that accompanies this dessert. The cook (usually my mom or dad) hides one whole almond in the rice pudding and whoever finds it in their serving wins a present. Growing up, my parents always had several presents ready depending on who won the almond. The catch: Everyone keeps eating until the almond is found, no matter how full they are! We like to joke and pretend like we've found the almond by poking our tongue to our cheek to mimic a whole almond. It is a fun tradition that keeps us laughing long after the meal.
If you like rice pudding, you will love Risalamande, a fancy Danish version of rice pudding that’s full of chopped almonds, velvety whipped cream and topped with warm cherry sauce. It is a simple and luxurious dessert all in one.
CAN I MAKE DANISH ALMOND RICE PUDDING AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! It is better that way. You can make the Risalamande a day ahead, then pull it out of the fridge to warm it up to room temperature and serve it with warm cherry sauce.
Tips for making Danish Rice Pudding
This special Danish rice pudding is light and fluffy. Here are a few tips to get it just right:
- DO NOT add the sugar while the rice is cooking. It will turn into a sticky gloppy mess. Instead, stir it into the rice when it is still hot and done cooking.
- DO NOT cook the rice until all the liquid is gone. Make sure to leave a little bit of milk so it feels smooth when you remove it from the heat at the end of the cooking time. The rice will absorb that extra liquid as it cools.
- Fluff the rice. After the cooked rice cools it will be very stiff. Fluff the rice to break it up a bit with a fork before folding in the whipped cream.
Eating risalamande is the most special Danish Christmas tradition. We hope you enjoy this tradition as well!
From my Cucina (kitchen) to your table- Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)
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This recipe post is dedicated to my Farmor Lise who made the best risalamande that ever existed. We love and remember you as we pass on your delightful recipe.Print
For the Rice:
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 100 ml water
- 500 ml milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 ounces chopped blanched almonds
For the Whipped Cream:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean flicks from a vanilla bean pod ( OR, 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste) *not extract
For the Cherry Sauce:
- 1 can (21 0z) Cherry Sauce (or homemade cherry sauce), warmed up before serving
For the homemade cherry sauce
- 15 oz frozen cherries
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- ½ c water
- 2 teaspoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- In a medium sauce pan add water and put it on a medium heat. When water starts to boil, add the rice, vanilla extract, salt stir the rice for few minutes. Add the warm milk, reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir occasionally. Cook until rice is soft, about 30 minutes, and there is little milk left. Increase frequency of stirring during the last 10 minutes to prevent scorching. This will also thicken the rice mixture. Stir in the sugar the last 5 minutes of cooking. Take off heat and stir in the chopped blanched almonds.
- Let the rice cool and then chill in the fridge for several hours, or overnight.
- Beat the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar, vanilla bean or extract, and beat until stiff peaks form. Stir the cream mixture into the rice pudding. Note: The rice will be very stiff after it is refrigerated. Stir it with a fork to loosen it up and then stir it more after the cream has been added to break up any clumps.
- Serve the Risalamande cold or at room temperature with the warm cherry sauce. Enjoy!
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 40 min
- Category: Savory
- Method: Danish
- Cuisine: Danish