A casual conversation about the similarities in world cuisine lead to a discussion about rice puddings made across the globe, our own chawal ki kheer (Rice Kheer), Phirni, payasam and other variations. I loved the idea of traditional Danish rice puddings with fresh vanilla, almonds and whipped cream which is served on Christmas eve as a dessert in Denmark and most of the Nordic and European countries. Delicately sweet and creamy, this pudding is served with warm cherry sauce as topping.
Risalamande gets its name after the French ris à l’amande which typically means Rice and Almonds which are the two main ingredients of this dessert.
A day before Christmas the Danish families prepare risengrød or the rice pudding and then on the eve of the Christmas day the leftover of the pudding is used as Risalamande by adding whipped cream, almonds and cherry sauce to it.
There are some interesting traditions associated with the desserts like hiding a whole almond in the dish apart from flaked or chopped almonds which are mixed in the pudding. Whoever finds the almond gets a marzipan pig and a special gift. The person who gets the almond usually saves it till the whole pudding is redounded by everyone in search of the prized almond and then in the end he/she reveals it.
Cherries are in season here and I decided to make this lovely dessert for a special occasion at home. You can use the readymade cherry sauce too but the sight of bright red sauce bubbling away in the pot is unmatched. I loved the contrast of chilled pudding and warm sauce. Absolutely delicious.This is the second time I made cherry sauce and my first of Risalamande.
Here is the recipe:
For the rice pudding or Risengrød :
Short Grain Rice – 1 cup ( I used broken basmati rice but you can use sushi rice or pudding rice too)
Water – 1/2 Cup
Whole Full Cream Milk – 1 liter
Sugar – 2-3 Tablespoon ( You can use Vanilla Sugar or Cinnamon sugar too)
To make Risalamande :
Vanilla Beans – 1-4 ( I used 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract)
Almonds (Blanched) – 100 gms (Chopped and 1 whole)
Whipped Cream – 11/2 Cups
For Cherry Sauce :
Frozen or Fresh Sweet Cherries – 2 Cups (Stems and pits removed)
Water – 1/2 Cup
Granulated Sugar – 1/2 Cup
Lemon Juice – 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons of corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of cold water
Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon (Optional)
Rice Pudding for Risalamande :
The traditional Risengrød or the rice pudding usually has salt and doesn’t have whipped cream, almonds and vanilla so when making for rasalamande we omit the salt and add the three other ingredients.
- Pour water and rice in a medium heavy bottom pot, cover the lid and let it boil for a 2-3 minutes.
- Now add the milk and let it come to a boil while stirring continuously.
- Slit and scrape the vanilla seeds from the beans and add to the milk also add the empty beans and let it simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the pudding is well cooked.
- The rice has a tendency to stick to the pot and burn so stirring constant stirring is essential. Keep the flame low.
- Once the rice is cooked properly add the sugar and stir. It will make the mixture a little watery but don’t worry as we will simmer it some more. You can use plain white sugar or cinnamon sugar as per your taste.
- Cover the pudding with lid for the last 15 min and keep the flame very low or the pudding will burn.
- Turn off the stove and remove the vanilla beans from the pudding.
- Let it come to room temperature and then transfer it into a serving dish or tupperware box and refrigerate overnight or for several hours until it is chilled.
- Once the pudding is chilled take it out and break it up with a spoon.
- In a bowl take the almonds and pour hot water over them. Let them soak for 5-10 minutes.
- Take the almonds one by one and press between the two fingers so that the skin separates from the nuts.
- Coarsely chop them and mix in the chilled pudding. Add vanilla extract now if you are not using the vanilla beans.
- In a bowl take the whipping cream and sugar and beat with a hand mixer till you achieve peaks.
- Add half of the cream in the pudding and stir well. Fold in rest of the whipped cream in small amounts till a creamy texture is achieved.
- Keep the pudding aside in the fridge.
- The pudding is low on sweetness as we will add the gorgeous sweetness of cherry sauce on it.
Now to make Cherry Sauce :
In a medium saucepan add washed, pitted cherries, sugar,and water. Keep it on a medium heat. You can add a vanilla bean if desired but I don’t as it masks the taste of the cherries. Don’t forget to remove the stems.
Let the mixture simmer till the cherries are tender.
Stir in the lemon juice.
Remove any froth that comes on the top.
Combine the corn starch in cold water and whisk it properly. Add to the sauce and stir.
Bring the sauce to a boil and remove the vanilla bean if using.
Simmer till the sauce is thick enough to cover the back of a metal spoon.
Remove from heat and it is ready to serve with the rice pudding.
Add a little pudding in a bowl/ short glass/ ice cream goblet and top it up with generous amount of Fresh warm cherry sauce before serving.
Don’t forget the hide the whole almond in one of the servings of in the main pudding bowl just for fun.
Enjoy the rich, creamy pudding with the warm cherry sauce on the side.