Food Blog | Risalamande

Different variations of the Christmas Eve dinner are eaten all over Denmark. Some eat pork, some goose, and others duck, but one thing is certain in every family, and that is the dessert.

Ris á la mande has a fancy French-sounding name means ‘rice with an almond’, but has absolutely nothing to do with France.

It dates back to around 1900 when middle-class families started favouring rice pudding made from imported rice served with cinnamon and cherry sauce, instead of the common rice pudding.

Around the time of the Second World War, due to a scarcity of food, whipped cream was added to make the pudding stretch longer – and voila! A classic was born. It has been the number one Danish Christmas dessert ever since.

One whole almond is put in the middle of the pudding and then the game is on! Whoever gets the almond wins a present. It is always great fun.

The pudding itself is super easy to make, although it needs some prep work the day before, and you must use ‘grødris’ – little round polished rice grains that are especially good for porridge.

I have had many variations: healthy versions with polished barley and substitute cream, or made with brown rice, and cheap versions with vanilla extract and jam. But if you opt for the real deal, Ris á la mande is just about one of the best things about Christmas.

Ris á la mande (serves 6)
For the rice porridge:
  • 3 dl water
  • 180 g ‘grødris’(pudding rice), approx 2½ dl
  • 1 litre milk
  • And the rest:
  • 100g blanched peeled almonds
  • 2 vanilla pods, use the seed
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ litre of double cream, 38 percent
Cherry sauce – buy a good one in the supermarket for the best result
First you need to make the porridge – preferably the night before, so it can get cold.
Use a heavy-based saucepan and bring the water and rice to a boiling point. Boil the rice on a steady heat whilst stirring for about 2 minutes.
Add milk and boil the porridge on a low heat, still stirring for approximately 10 minutes.
Put on a lid and boil for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once in a while. The grains have to be soft, but not too soft.
Put the porridge in the fridge until it is cold, preferably overnight.
Chop up the almonds, except one!
Mix the porridge, vanilla seeds, sugar and the chopped almonds.
Whisk up the cream lightly and mix it gently into the pudding.
Put the pudding in the fridge for at least two hours. Then go and buy a present for the traditional dessert game – a box of chocolate is always a winner.
Taste before serving and then add the whole almond.
Eat with hot cherry sauce and enjoy a fun traditional Christmas evening.