Traditional Danish Christmas delicacy.
Despite the pseudo-French name (intended to mean "Rice with almonds" - it's also sometimes spelled Ris à l'amande or Risalamande), this dessert is a 100% Danish recipe. For well over a century, it has been a Danish Christmas tradition, frequently consumed during December - and it is invariably served as dessert on Christmas Eve.
Among the customs that surround this Christmas tradition is the mandelgave (Danish: "almond gift"): The host or hostess, who prepares the dish, adds one whole almond to the bowl, and stirs it in. Whoever finds the almond in his helping is then rewarded with a small gift, usually candy or the like.
Ris à la mande
- Bring the milk to boiling carefully, in a thick-bottomed pot. Add the rice, and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring frequently to keep the porridge from burning. Add a pinch of salt.
Note: If you stop at this point, you have risengrød ("rice porridge"), another Danish winter dish. You can serve this up sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, as is, or keep going to make ris à la mande.
- Stir in the sugar and the vanilla. If you're using whole vanilla bean, you should allow it to cook with the mixture for a while, before removing it from the heat. Remember to remove the vanilla bean husks from the finished dish, before serving.
- Set the finished rice pudding in a cool place (by an open window, or in the refrigerator) until it's chilled.
- Just before serving, add the whipped cream and the almonds, stirring them in carefully. The whole almond should be carefully added, and its position randomised, to allow for fair play in the mandelgave ritual.
- Serve chilled with warm cherry sauce. Some people prefer cold cherry sauce, though.
- Whoever gets the almond gets the mandelgave. If adults and young children are mixed at the table, it is traditional for an adult who gets it to attempt to surreptitiously slip the almond to the nearest child. In any case, if you get the almond early in the meal, try to conceal it in your cheek, so as not to deprive the others of their fun.
Noder's health advisory: This dish is extremely delicious and very addictive. Exercise caution.
Note to christianoliver: You really ought to read my writeup before you comment on it. Doesn't it say, explicitly, in the writeup above, that the name of this dish is "pseudo-French"? I think it does. And I think you know what that makes your writeup.