The next time you’re hosting a special family get-together or dinner party for friends, why not bring some Nordic charm to proceedings by serving risalamande? Also known as ris à l’amande or ris a la mande (from the French phrase for ‘rice with almonds’), this is Denmark’s most famous Christmas dessert – but it’s so delicious, you’ll want to eat it all year round!
Enriched with whipped cream and fragrant vanilla sugar, as well as being topped with glistening cherry sauce, risalamande has more than a hint of sophistication. So you may be surprised to learn that it’s not only easy to make but also the ideal way to use up any day-old, leftover rice pudding – specifically the Danish version, risengrød. We’re firm believers in making taste, not waste, so this approach to making tasty food go further is music to our ears!
If you’ve cooked your rice pudding according to the risengrød recipe elsewhere on our blog, you’ll find that a quarter of it is sufficient for this risalamande recipe. Essentially, you want to begin with a medium-sized bowl of cold rice pudding (the dessert increases in size considerably after the whipped cream has been added!).
Sweet pickled cherries may not be a particularly common sight on supermarket shelves beyond the Nordic countries, but you should be able to find them in delicatessens or other upmarket food shops. You could even pickle cherries at home.
Danish families often serve warming risengrød on 23 December, setting some aside for the following day. When Christmas Eve arrives, they transform the remaining rice pudding into risalamande, the classic dessert that concludes their festive feast. For an authentically Danish experience, hide one whole almond in the risalamande and play the almond-hunting game. (The nut should be blanched, like all the others in this recipe, so that it’s hard to spot.) The lucky finder wins the ‘almond present’, which is usually a small marzipan pig.
Risalamande is a dish of pleasing contrasts: the creamy white rice pudding is mild and sweet, while the deep red cherry sauce is refreshing and slightly tart. Our recipe suggests serving both cold, but you could pour out the sauce when it’s still warm. That’s a welcome option on a chilly day.
Creamy, crunchy and fruity, risalamande is truly a dessert to be savoured. Plus, it’s a delicious way for the team here at Bodum to celebrate our Danish roots!