Risalamande – The Traditional Danish Rice Pudding With Cherry Sauce


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:

Ingredients:

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)

Steps :

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.

  1. Pour water and rice in a medium heavy bottom pot, cover the lid and let it boil for a 2-3 minutes.
  2.  Now add the milk and let it come to a boil while stirring continuously.
  3. 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.
  4. The rice has a tendency to stick to the pot and burn so stirring constant stirring is essential. Keep the flame low.
  5. 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.
  6. Cover the pudding with lid for the last 15 min and keep the flame very low or the pudding will burn.
  7. Turn off the stove and remove the vanilla beans from the pudding.
  8. 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.
  9. Once the pudding is chilled take it out and break it up with a spoon.
  10. In a bowl take the almonds and pour hot water over them. Let them soak for 5-10 minutes.
  11. Take the almonds one by one and press between the two fingers so that the skin separates from the nuts.
  12. Coarsely chop them and mix in the chilled pudding. Add vanilla extract now if you are not using the vanilla beans.
  13. In a bowl take the whipping cream and sugar and beat with a hand mixer till you achieve peaks.
  14. 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.
  15. Keep the pudding aside in the fridge.
  16. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Homemade Warm Cherry Sauce With Vanilla Ice Cream


Summer is the time to enjoy fruit based desserts. Cherries are in abundance these days and apart from enjoying them as it is I also indulge in making sumptuous cherry sauce. This sinful sauce can be added to ice-creams, yogurt, grilled chicken, shuffle, cheesecake and various other dishes.

To choose cherries – Prefer to buy the ones with stem still attached. The fruit should be firm, smooth and unblemished. Plump cherries are great but they shouldn’t be mushy. I prefer the dark and light multi-hued bunch for the sauce. It gives the sauce a sweet and sour flavor. You may choose the sweet ones.

I have not tried many dishes using this cherry sauce but I do plan to make a pennacota and Risalamande (Danish Rice Pudding sometime soon). It is very similar to our own Rice pudding. Can’t wait to indulge in that sweetness.

Cherry has immense health benefits but those you can always Google and find out. 😀 Here we will just talk about the deep ruby-red flavors of crushed cherries in a warm sauce. Sounds almost erotic, doesn’t it?

To make this sensational sauce you will need 

Sweet Cherries –  2 cups (stem removed washed and pitted)

Sugar – 2 tablespoon (Granulated / Castor or Demerara)

Cornstarch – 1 teaspoon (optional)

Lemon Juice – 1 teaspoon

Water -3 tablespoon

Red Wine – optional

How to make the sauce 

I do not have the tools or technique to pit the cherries so it is a tedious task to take one cherry at a time and carefully sqeeze out the stone without crushing the fruit too much. One day I will learn a better way or indulge in a cherry pitter or a pairing knife to make this easier. Usually cutting the cherries in half is the key to quick pitting.

Once you have pitted the fruit keep it aside.

In a small bowl mix corn starch in a little warm water or use red wine. Dissolve it properly so that there are no lumps. I avoid corn starch if I make a small amount for immediate use. I also like the fruit juices and pulp mingled with sugar to thicken on its own

In a heavy bottom saucepan add cherries ,water and sugar and cook on high flame to bring the mixture to boil. Stir continuously. Then let it simmer on slow flame till the fruit becomes soft. Be careful not to burn the sugar.

Add the wine (half a cup) to the mixture. Add the corn starch mixture and keep stirring the sauce gently.

Taste to check the sweetness. I prefer the natural sweetness of the cherries but you can add a bit more sugar if needed. Add lemon juice in the end moments.

Keep stirring the sauce till it thickens.

Cool it and keep in an air tight jar in the refrigerator or freeze it. Frozen sauce stays for 3-4 weeks and the refrigerated one 2-3 days. I make small quantities and keep in the fridge. IF it doesn’t get licked off 😀

For the topping on Vanilla Ice cream, scoop out the ice cream in a whisky glass, ice cream glass bowls or any other bowl.

Lavishly pour warm cherry sauce over the scoops and watch the red liquid cascade down the creamy white contours of the scoops. Let it drip down in the glass ( if using)

You can decorate it with a fresh basil or cherry on top. Swirl the sauce in the ice cream for more dramatic experience. I am not a food blogger or food photographer so all my images are unprofessional. BUT, the cherry sauce is to die for. I can vouch for that.