Danish Almond Rice Pudding (Risalamande)

Risalamande is a traditional Danish dessert served at Christmas dinner and lunch. A distant relative of the classic French Empress Rice (riz a` l’imperatrice), this version is made without the fancy molds and raspberry coulis. It became popular in the late 1800s after the once-prohibitive prices of imported cinnamon, almonds, and Arborio rice came down.

On Christmas eve, a whole almond is added to the desert. The person who finds the almond in their bowl wins a small prize, like a marzipan pig or a chocolate heart. Sweden does the same game but with a more serious prize: the person finding the almond is expected to get married before the next Christmas!

Risalamande Kirsebaersovs- Danish Almond Rice Pudding with Cherry Sauce

This fabulous rice pudding is made with Arborio rice mixed with whipped cream, sugar, vanilla, and chopped almonds. If desired, top with either a cold or warm cherry sauce for some extra flair.
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Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Denmark, North Western European, Scandanavian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Large pot or Dutch Oven
  • Medium saucepan
  • Medium bowl
  • Wire whisk


Rice Pudding

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • cup Water
  • 4 cup Whole milk
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Lemon zest, finally grated
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 4 oz Blanched almonds, chopped


  • 2 cups Whipping cream
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla bean paste (Sub: vanilla sugar)
  • ½ tsp Almond extract
  • sprigs Fresh mint garnish (optional)

Cherry Sauce

  • 15 oz Jar or can pitted cherries
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla paste (Sub: 1 vanilla bean, scraped)
  • 2 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch


Rice Pudding

  • In a pot, combine rice, salt, sugar, lemon zest, and water. Boil for 3 minutes, add the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 35 minutes, stirring occasionally and more frequently in the last 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped almonds and chill for several hours or overnight.
  • Add cream to a medium bowl and whisk until it starts to thicken. Add vanilla, sugar, and almond extract. Whisk until stiff peaks begin to form. Mix the chilled rice pudding to loosen it up. Stir cream mixture into the rice until fully incorporated. Serve at room temperature, alone or top with warm cherry sauce,

Cherry Sauce

  • Drain cherries and save liquid separately. Pour drained liquid from cherries into a cup. Complete remaining water measurement with water, Pour liquid into a medium saucepan along with cherries, vanilla, and sugar. Bring to a boil and the reduce a simmer for 10-15 minutes. Combine cornstarch with an equal amount of water and stir into cherry sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened. Serve warm by spooning over a bowl of risalamande or in a separate dish.


  • Risalamande may be stored covered in the refrigerator for a few days them brought to room temperature before serving.
  • Cherry sauce may be stored in an airtight container for a few days in the refrigerator or indefinitely in the freezer. 


Calories: 774kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 538mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 1946IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 309mg | Iron: 3mg

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