Rice pudding with hot cherry sauce

Rice pudding with hot cherry sauce

Scandinavian Christmas
Lars Ranek

For me, this is the best pudding in the world and I only eat it on Christmas Eve… then demolish the leftovers on the days after Christmas. Maybe that’s the reason why I appreciate it so much. When we serve it on Christmas Eve, we also play a little game. One whole almond is added to the serving bowl, then we sit and eat in suspense: who gets the almond? Finding the almond means that you receive a present: the ‘almond gift’. If you get the almond, you must hide it and not reveal yourself until everybody has eaten the whole bowl… that can be a daunting task.


Quantity Ingredient

For the rice pudding

Quantity Ingredient
2 vanilla pods
300g short-grain pudding rice
1.6 litres whole milk
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons caster sugar
150g blanched almonds
500ml double cream

For the cherry sauce

Quantity Ingredient
700g pitted cherries, fresh or frozen
150g caster sugar, or to taste
1 vanilla pod
3 tablespoons cornflour


  1. Cut one of the vanilla pods lengthways, without cutting it all the way through. Bring 300ml of water to a boil in a large, heavy-based saucepan, then add the rice and let it boil for two minutes, while stirring. Add the milk and split vanilla pod, stirring until it returns to a boil. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat and add the salt. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes, then stir in the sugar and leave until cold, or overnight.
  2. Remove the vanilla pod and transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl.
  3. Roughly chop all the almonds except for one, which must be left whole for the game! Cut the second vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds with the tip of a knife and add them to the rice. Whip the cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks. Fold one-third of the cream into the rice to loosen, then fold in the rest. Add the chopped almonds. Taste the pudding: it should be sweet with a flavour of vanilla. Push the whole almond down into the pudding; it should be well hidden.
  4. To make the sauce, mix the cherries, sugar and vanilla pod with 500ml of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Slake the cornflour in 3 tbsp of water in a cup or small bowl. Slowly add it to the cherries until they thicken, stirring constantly, and season to taste with more sugar, if you want. Serve the cold rice pudding with the hot cherry sauce.
Christmas Eve
Christmas Day
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