This rich, lightly sweet rice pudding is topped with a warmed tart cherry sauce and served on Christmas Eve in Danish homes. According to tradition, the pudding is made to keep the Nisse (a mischievious elf-like creature) happy so they won’t cause havoc (rot the crops, scare the farm animals, sour the milk). Before taken to the table, one whole almond is added to the pudding. Whoever finds it wins a prize, traditionally a marzipan pig. Recipe courtesy of Kristine Mathers of The Danish Place in Puslinch, Ontario.
250 ml (1 cup) starchy medium- or short-grain rice, such as arborio or pudding rice
15 ml (1 tablespoon) sugar
5 ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
15 ml (1 tablespoon) icing sugar, as needed (optional)
1 blanched almond
250 ml (1 cup) heavy or whipping cream
15 ml (1 tablespoon) icing sugar (optional)
5 ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract (optional)
To make the tart cherry sauce:
Add juice or water, sugar, and cornstartch in a heavy saucepan and whisk until smooth. Set the hob to medium and bring to a boil. Stir until slightly thickend (about a minute or two). Add the cherries, stir and let cool. Warm the sauce before serving.
To make the pudding:
Boil milk, rice, icing sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a heavy-bottomed pot. Stir occasionally so the rice doesn't catch at the bottom of the pot.
Boil for a few minutes before lowering the flame to a slow simmer. Stir often until the rice is cooked and has absorbed the milk--if necesssary, add more milk if the pot looks as if it will boil dry before the rice is tender and firm, but not mushy nor with a hard centre. This stage will take 30-45 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool completely before covering with cling film and placing in the fridge.
Whip cream, 1 tablespoon icing sugar, and vanilla to firm peaks.
Fold into the cold pudding, a couple spoons at a time, until the pudding has reached the consistency you prefer (you may have some leftover cream). Stir in the almond, and decant into an (opaque) serving serving bowl for the table. Serve along side the warmed tart cherry sauce.