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December 09, 2012

Christmas Recipe: Ris a la Mandes (ris a la Malta) - Creamed rice Pudding


This is one of the most popular and traditional Christmas desserts across Scandinavia.

Here's how to make it:

Ris à l’amande med kirsebærsauce - Danish Christmas rice pudding with cherry sauce

This is the traditional Christmas dinner dessert in Denmark - and if I do say so myself, it’s rather lighter than Christmas pudding!  Include a single whole almond in the rice pudding - the person who finds it should receive a gift, usually a box of fancy chocolates. Most people buy the cherry sauce, but if you want to make it, here’s how. 


For the rice pudding:

Day 1

- 180g pudding rice

- 300ml water

- 1l whole milk

Day 2

- 100g blanched almonds

- seeds from two vanilla pods

- 4 tbsp sugar

- 250ml whipping cream

Most people buy the cherry sauce - there is enough to do at Christmas without having to start making a dessert sauce.  However, if you do fancy making it, here's how.

For the cherry sauce:

- 2 jars of cherries (300-350g each)

- 100ml cherry juice from the jars

- 1 tbsp potato flour or cornflour

- 2 tbsp caster sugar


- Put the water in a thick-bottomed saucepan and add the rice. Bring to the boil and cook for about 2 minutes.

- Turn down the heat and add the milk. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover the pan and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

- Once cooked, take the rice pudding off the heat and let it cool completely, then place in the fridge overnight.

- The next day, chop the almonds into chunky pieces, apart from one, which should be kept whole.

- Add the vanilla seeds, sugar and chopped almonds to the cold rice pudding and stir together.

- In a separate bowl, lightly whip the cream and fold it into the rice pudding. Finally, add the whole almond and stir in.

- Put the pudding back in the fridge for a few hours until you’re ready to serve it with warm cherry sauce.

- If you’re making your own cherry sauce, combine a small amount of the juice and potato flour (or cornflour) to make a ‘roux’, and set aside.

- In a saucepan, bring the sugar, cherries, and the rest of the juice to the boil.

- Add the ‘roux’, stirring constantly. Turn the heat to low until the sauce is ready so it doesn’t boil. Have a taste to see if more sugar is required, depending on what type of cherries you’ve used.



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Please note that the parenthesis is misleading: The name of the Swedish dish "ris à la Malta" (Maltese rice) is in all probability a bastardisation of the Danish "risalamande" (which in turn is a "danification" of "riz à l'amande" - almond rice - although the dish seems to have been invented in Denmark and is no import from France), but the Swedish dish itself is rather different from the Danish, as it traditionally consists of cold rice pudding, sweetened whipped cream and cut-up segments of mandarin, clementine or orange mixed together. So the Swedish dish contains no almonds and has no cherry sauce on top. That "alamande" became "à la Malta" is rather clever, as almost all oranges in the early 1900s came from southern Italy.

Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I'm English and came into the shop a few weeks ago to buy Scandinavian food for a change at Christmas and the 2 girls were so helpful with my shopping list and said they would post this recipe for me to make. Thank you!
Best wishes,

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