Danish Rice Pudding is a relatively new family favorite. This creamy, sweet pudding is a delicious dessert that everyone will love, whether or not you have Danish roots!
A Family Christmas Tradition
I love Christmas traditions. I love hearing about other peoples’ traditions and I love our own little traditions. Some of our traditions go way back and some have been established within the last few years.
Either way, in my opinion, traditions make Christmas time unique extra special and unique for each family. No two Christmases are the same and I love that. That all being said, I am going to share with you a fun little tradition done in Denmark as well as my own little family…
A Tradition that Started in Denmark
My husband served his mission in Denmark and told me about this tradition that they do there and I LOVE it. Since our family has Danish ancestry (and since he lived in Denmark) we decided that we wanted to incorporate it into our own Christmas traditions.
Ris A La Mande (or Ris ala Mande.. or Risalamande) is a Danish rice pudding that is typically served on or around Christmas as a dessert. Now here is the fun part… this rice pudding contains chopped almonds… and one, single whole almond mixed in before serving. The rice pudding is served in individual bowls and whoever finds the single, whole almond in their bowl will get a little wrapped gift!
Our family celebrates our “Danish Christmas” on December 23rd. In Denmark the 23rd of December is called “Lille Julaften” or “Little Christmas Eve” (the day before Christmas Eve).
If you are in Demark on this day, you would likely have a big meal. Then, on actual Christmas Eve, you get to open presents, sing songs, serve rice pudding, etc. We roll all the Danish celebrations into one day and do it all on the 23rd. I love doing this because it is like having 3 days of Christmas celebrations/traditions… Little Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve, and Christmas!
Why not tack on an extra day of fun?
Tips for Making This Rice Pudding
This recipe is easy enough to make, but here are some tips to help you get started if it’s your first time making rice pudding.
- Vanilla sugar is not easy to find but it is a MUST for the recipe. You can find it at a European market or you can order it online. A friend of ours found some at a Russian market. You will usually find them in little individual packets.
- The rice (Arborio Rice) is Italian short-grain rice. It can usually be found by the specialty rice in grocery stores. If you have a Winco nearby, they have it available in their bulk bins.
- The almonds should have a coarse texture. You can get this by chopping roughly with a knife or pulsing a few times in a food processor.
- Serve it warm or cold. I prefer this rice pudding warm, but other people prefer it cold. It’s personal preference, so try it both ways and see!
Other Danish Recipes to Try:
Whether you want to make a traditional Little Christmas Eve meal, or just want to try some Danish food, these recipes are fantastic. Give them a try!
- Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs)
- Brunede Kartofler (Caramelized/Browned Potatoes)
- Rødkål (Red Cabbage)
- Aebleskiver (Danish Dessert)
How to Make Rice Pudding
Ris a La Mande (Danish Rice Pudding)
For the rice pudding:
- 8 Tbsp Arborio rice (it MUST be this kind of rice)
- 4 c. milk
- 3 Tbsp. vanilla sugar (do NOT use vanilla extract…this can be tricky to find, see above)
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 c. almonds finely chopped using knife (if you use a food processor you should aim for a coarse texture, as the almonds give the dish its texture)
- 2 1/4 c. whipping cream whipped
- Bring milk to a boil slowly in a large pot.
- Add rice, keep simmering until rice is tender, stir every 3 min or so to prevent rice and/or milk burning at the bottom. This step takes approx 45 minutes.
- While the rice is simmering you can make the raspberry sauce and chop the almonds.
- When rice is firm, remove from heat and let it cool slightly. When cool (see note below.. we like to keep ours warm) add vanilla sugar, sugar and almonds.
- Fold in whipped cream.
- Chill and serve with warm raspberry sauce. (we actually like the rice pudding warm… but some like it chilled. Either way works.)
- In medium sauce pan place frozen raspberries and 2 tbsp of water, heat until thawed, add sugar and stir. Let simmer for approx 3-5 minutes. Strain seeds (catching the juices/pulp over a bowl), discard seeds and put juices back in the sauce pan.
- Mix cornstarch with water and add to the sauce SLOWLY to thicken– you probably won’t need all the mixture. This step can be omitted if you want a more natural and thinner sauce.
- TIP- you can also serve this dish with a strawberry sauce or a mix of raspberry and strawberry. I prefer the raspberry sauce as it adds a bit of tartness to an otherwise sweet dish. Traditionally the dish is served with a cherry sauce, our family never did though instead preferring the raspberry or strawberry sauce.
This recipe was adapted from Food.com.. click here!