The milky rice pudding Risalamande is of Danish origin and in Scandinavia it is written as pronounced: risalamande.
The word Risalamande is taken from French, and is built out of the three words: riz à l’amande, that literally means: almond rice. For my senses as to many other Scandinavians, this dessert
is tightly connected to Christmas. Immediately from its “boiling” perfumes in the pot, fragments of memories are shaped in the mind and help recall various atmospheres connected to the feast of the heart, love, faith and light.


At the first spoon, a film begins on the big screen of the senses, revealing various “trailers” of past Christmases accompanied by special effects of fragrances, music and various emotions. One of the magical sensations tied to this dessert’s tradition, is the traditional Danish almond-game (mandelgave) or the almond gift that is part of this dessert. A whole unpeeled almond is hidden inside of one of the pudding portions and the lucky almond holder gets the almond present.

serves 4


  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 3 cups of semi-skimmed milk
  • 10 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 cup of rice (Arborio, Carnaroli or Rome)
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup of chopped almonds
  • 1 cup of double cream
  • 200g cherries in syrup. I prefer to use the Italian sour amarena cherries, packed up with flavor, that give a great contrast to the sweetness of the pudding, f.example Fabbri 
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (mixed with a tablespoon of water)
  • ¼ cup cherry liqueur, for example the Danish Heering liqueur, or another choice or homemade. The Heering liqueur gives a northern royal taste to the whole and is a great match with the amarena (or morello).
    This delicious liqueur is based on a Danish recipe from 1818 invented by Peter F. Heering, and rigorously made of Danish Stevens cherries harvested in August. The cherries are crushed together with the stone, and that gives the liqueur its characteristic hint of almond. That makes it such a perfect match with the almond taste in the pudding.
  • some pomegranate seed for garnishing if you like and make a contrast to the sweet cheery taste.
  • a few leaves of fresh mint



1. Mix together milk, 6 tablespoons of sugar and the rice in a pan and bring to a boil.
2. Lower the heat over medium heat so that the rice is not tender (but a little al dente) and the mixture is quite thick. Stir regularly (30-40 minutes).
3. Pour the rice pudding into a large bowl and let it cool completely.
4. Add the chopped almonds (I sometimes put half of the almonds and boil them together with the rice)
5. Whip the cream until stiff with 2 tablespoons of sugar with an electric mixer. 6. Scrape the inside of the pod to extract the seeds.
7. Add the vanilla and the whipped cream in the rice mixture.
8. Cover and refrigerate for approx. 4 hours.
9. Drain the cherries and collect the syrup in a pan. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and cornstarch and bring to the boil. Stir continuously.
10. Reduce the heat to low and add the cherries together with the liqueur and continue to simmer. Stir occasionally (approx. 5 minutes).
11. Pour the pudding into small bowls or glasses (the champagne cup suits well). Hide the whole almond inside one of them.
12. Garnish with the hot cherry sauce.
13. Pomegranate seeds are so beautifully red and “christmasy”, and if you like you can garnish some portions with them or make 2 small portions for each person, garnishing one with the cherry sauce and the other with the pomegranate seeds.
14. Garnish the portions with a few fresh mint leaves.

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One thought on “Risalamande

  1. RIS A LA MAND is a classic desert for Christmas in Scandinavia and is always good and can be slightly altered and spiced, but the basic ingredients as we mostly use and cherish here in Iceland are the best.

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