Tis the season here in Denmark for all kinds of sweets and treats. For whatever reason, I’m fairly good at resisting the cookie end of the spectrum in spite of how delicious they are. (Think lots of butter and sugar.) The one thing I can’t seem to resist, however, is Risalamande (rice pudding with almonds). Traditionally, this is only served as dessert for the Christmas dinner with a little cherry sauce on top.
Being an American living in Denmark, I figure I can make it as often as I get to the gym. Looking for the best recipe possible, I was told by many Danes that this dish is high maintenance. You have to stand over the stove for quite awhile until the rice pudding to cook and thicken. Fortunately, I have found a recipe from the famous Danish chef Claus Meyer that is not only easy to make, but delicious beyond belief.
If you want to read the recipe in Danish (or Google Translate it), you can check it out. I warn you, however, that Google Translate has messed up some of the measurements.
The rice is a bit of a confusion for me. The recipe calls for grødris. This is a very inexpensive short-grain white rice here in Denmark. I suppose you could use just regular short-grained rice. You might even play with arborio (risotto) to see what gives you the best result.
The other “weird” thing with this recipe is the blanched almonds. Claus Meyer assumes that everyone knows how to do that. Basically, you just throw your raw almonds into a pan of water on high heat. As soon as it reaches the boil, take it off the heat and drain the almonds. You should be able to slip the skins off at that point. Just be careful as the almonds are a little hot. Chop them up and set them aside for later.
- open and scrape out your vanilla bean
- measure the sugar
It makes it a lot easier to add that stuff when the time comes.
Risalamande (from Claus Meyer)
1/2 cup grødris (short grain rice)
4 cups full-fat milk
1 vanilla bean
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup blanched almonds
1 2/3 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
Rinse the rice thoroughly, then cook it over medium high heat in a thick-bottomed pot with the milk until it starts to boil. Stir (scraping the bottom) the entire time.
This is the part that can be a little bit of a drag. Just remember that your work is pretty much over after this.
If you’ve already opened and scraped your vanilla bean, now is the time to add it and the sugar and salt to your rice mixture.
If your pot doesn’t work in the oven, put it in a casserole dish, cover with a lid, and place it in the over for 30 minutes. Don’t be nervous. It will still look liquid-y when you take it out of the oven. Give it a little stir and then let the rice cool off completely.
Take the vanilla bean out.
If you haven’t done it already, rough chop your almonds.
Whip the cream until it has the consistency of yogurt. It should not have any stiff peaks. Gently fold in the whipped cream with the almonds and cool rice.
Put your Risalamande in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so everything can set up.
Serve with warm cherry sauce. (Here at home, we actually eat it without the sauce half the time.)