Delicious & Fun – How to Make Danish Christmas Pudding

We’ve been enjoying all of the beautiful Christmas traditions Milly has brought back from Denmark. This one made our Christmas Eve celebrations so much fun!

Risalamande is a rice pudding that the Danish traditionally serve on Christmas Eve.  It’s so much more than a delicious desert. It’s also a game that friends and family play together.

Risalamande served in a cut glass bowl

Though not at all difficult to make, this dessert does take time. Happily, it can be made in stages, so start it the day before to make things a bit easier on Christmas Eve day. And as you’ll see, it’s definitely worth the extra effort!


This recipe makes 4 generous servings.

  • 1 cup short-grain rice (calarosa or arborio)
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 4 oz almonds (blanched and peeled)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Cherry sauce (we used cherry pie filling)

Chop the almonds, leaving one whole almond aside for the game


Mix rice, the seeds from the vanilla beans, and 1 cup of milk in a sauce pan.  Heat over medium heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, and add milk one cup at a time, waiting until the milk is almost completely absorbed before adding the next cup.  Stir frequently.  When all of the milk has been added and the rice pudding is creamy (about 30-40 minutes) remove from heat and allow to cool.

Chop the peeled almonds (setting one whole almond aside for the game). To peel the almonds, blanch them by pouring boiling water over them and allowing them to sit for 5 minutes.  Drain and then skins should easily peel away).  Mix the chopped almonds and the one whole almond into the rice pudding mixture.

Chill in the refrigerator (overnight if you wish to make this part in advance).

*TIP – For a light, fluffy pudding it is absolutely essential that the rice pudding is completely chilled before mixing in the whipped cream in the next step!

Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks

Whip the heavy cream, almond extract, and sugar together until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the chilled rice pudding mixture.

*TIP – What makes this pudding special is the fluffy, light texture! Stir the rice pudding to break it up, and then fold the whipped cream in very gently to keep that fluffiness.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the rice pudding mixture

You can serve this pudding at room temperature or chilled, whichever you prefer.

Risalamande, Danish Christmas Pudding

When you’re ready to serve dessert, top the pudding with a warm cherry sauce.  We heated up a delicious cherry pie filling for the sauce.

And now the fun begins!

A bowl of risalamande for Christmas Eve

The Danish Christmas Pudding Game

As everyone helps themselves to the pudding and enjoys the sweet dessert, they’re watching their bowl for the whole almond. Whoever finds the almond in their pudding gets the prize – a special wrapped gift just for the winner!

Instead of a gift to open, the kids decided that the best prize would be not having to wash dishes on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. That was the perfect incentive.

Of course, everyone must keep eating until someone finds the almond. Sometimes a sneaky winner will hide the almond in their cheek to make everyone keep eating, even if they’re full. It’s part of the merriment.

And now my dear husband doesn’t have to do dishes on Christmas. Poor kids!

I hope this delicious tradition will add a bit of fun to your Christmas Eve celebration, too.

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