Risalamande - Danish Rice Pudding

Risalamande is the dessert that is traditionally served with Christmas dinner in Denmark. Rice is cooked in milk and left to cool and set, then whipped cream, sugar vanilla and almonds are folded in and warm cherry sauce is poured on top.

Everybody knows the game was fixed kid, so stop being so smug
Portioned from a large bowl at the end of dinner, a whole almond is hidden somewhere in the mix and the lucky person to find it receives a special gift. The fun is to hide the fact that you have found the almond as long as possible so that people will keep getting second and third helpings in a futile attempt to find the almond and claim the prize. In practice, a whole almond is always slipped into the youngest child's dish, and often two prizes are given. The child's gift and the "real" winner.

pama grodrisGrødris is a special type of rice used to make risalamande. A short grained japonica rice, It is very similar to arborio rice, which can be substituted in it's place. Risengrød is the plain rice porridge that is used as the base of risalamande. "Grød" can be translated to gruel in English and is quite difficult to pronounce. Foreigners are often asked to say "rød grød med fløde" and for some reason their fumbled attempts delight the Danes. See the video below, and try to say it.

The cherry sauce is an important element to the dessert. ready made sauce is easily available in Denmark, with the Den Gamle Fabrik brand being one of the most popular. Some families like to buy the imported amaena cherries in liquor from Italy to be extra fancy.

nisser being nisser

When making risalamande a portion of the risengrød is reserved to make julegrød. Much like the tradition of leaving milk and cookies for Santa in North America, julegrød is left out on Christmas Eve for the nisse. A nisse is a gnome like spirit that protects farms and children from bad luck in Denmark. Apparently the nisse has a bad temperament and needs to be left julegrød to guarantee he doesn't kill your livestock and plaque your children. So I guess the bad luck the nisser (plural) are protecting the family from are the nisser themselves!


På loftet sidder nissen med sin julegrød is a traditional Christmas song and translates as " The nisse sits in the attic with his julegrød" Here is an old recording of the song from 1954.


The recipe I used for risalamande is from Arla Foods in Denmark It worked really well so I've translated the recipe to English.

Risalamande for six


300ml water
1 liter milk
180g grødris or arborio rice
100 g slivered almonds
2 vanilla beans - corns removed
4 tbsp sugar
¼ liter 35% cream
1. Bring the rice and water to a boil in a pot stirring for about two minutes
2. Add the milk and cook at a low temperature for about 10 minutes stirring to prevent sticking
3. Take off the heat and leave in the pot for about half an hour
4. Place in a container and let cool
   (If you want to have julegrød for the nisse, take a scoop of rice out now and serve it with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar on top.)
5. Mix the rice, almonds, sugar, and vanilla together
6. Whip the cream, and fold into the rice mix. Add one whole almond as a prize.
7. Put rice in a serving bowl and let set for 2 hours.
Your guests should help themselves from the bowl and add the warmed cherry sauce to their liking.
 If you can't find ready made cherry sauce, you could use a good quality cherry pie filling thinned out with water, lemon juice and some brandy.

risalamande danish christmas recipe,rice pudding

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