CHRISTMAS RICE PUDDING WITH CHERRY SAUCE
Ris a la mande – cold rice pudding with whipped cream, vanilla, almonds and hot cherry sauce – is the classic Danish Christmas dessert. Traditionally one whole almond is hidden in the dessert bowl and the lucky finder gets an extra present, usually a marzipan chocolate or little marzipan pig.
1.2 litres whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split
250g arborio rice
2 tablespoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
100g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
(leave 1 whole for the prize)
500g pitted cherries, fresh, frozen
or in juice or syrup
150g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornflour Place milk in a large saucepan with the vanilla bean. Heat to almost boiling then add rice. Cook over gentle heat, stirring often to prevent rice sticking and burning, for 30 minutes or until most of the milk has been absorbed. Take off heat, cover and leave to stand 30 minutes.
Stir in caster sugar and salt. Remove vanilla bean and scrape seeds back into pot. Fold them into rice mixture. Leave to cool completely. (At this stage the pudding can be kept chilled for up to 2 days if desired.)
On the day of serving, beat cream to soft peaks. Fold about a third through the rice until smooth then fold in remainder with chopped almonds. Transfer pudding to a serving bowl and hide the whole almond in the mixture. Cover and chill until serving.
Sauce: Place cherries, sugar, whole vanilla bean and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer 15 minutes.
Combine cornflour with a little cold water. Slowly add to cherry mixture, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Bring slowly back to the boil then take off heat. (Sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and gently reheated. Add a little extra liquid if necessary.) Serve hot with the cold rice.
Note: If using preserved cherries, drain them first and reserve some of the liquid to use in place of the 1 cup water. Serves 6- 8