Making Ris a la Mande with Mads and Natascha

One of the biggest parts of my Cozy Christmas Party was making the traditional Danish Christmas dessert, Ris a la Mande.  Ris a la Mande is a kind of rice pudding with almonds.  This Danish dessert is more than just a dessert, it’s a game!  When making the Ris a la Mande, you chop all of the almonds except for one.  The one whole almond gets put into the mixture, and whoever finds the whole almond in their Ris a la Mande, gets a present.  Mads has talked so much about this dessert (because apparently, he always gets the almond and wins the prize), so I was very excited to try it for myself!


The night before, Mads and I went to the grocery store for all the ingredients.  We had A LOT of problems getting the ingredients, because his recipe was in Danish and so were all the ingredients.  A lot of things wouldn’t translate directly into an English ingredient, or we just couldn’t find it, or it was super expensive.  For a moment, we considered not even making the Ris a la Mande, because we were worried it would cost too much, but we decided to go through with it, since we were splitting the cost with everyone coming to the Cozy Christmas Party.


When we got back to the dorm, we had to start baking, because the rice pudding had to sit overnight in the fridge.  Now, I can’t really remember the recipe, but I will add a recipe in at the end, so you can figure it out if you want to make it yourself.  All I know is that the rice pudding part required a whole lot of stirring.  Natascha, Mads and I each took turns stirring for like 40 minutes until it was the right consistency.  After the mixture got to a good thickness, we put it in the fridge overnight.


The next day, we focused on the almonds and the cherry sauce.  Did you know that you can peel almonds???? I didn’t.  Apparently when you boil almonds, the almond skins just fall off.  And it makes the almonds taste softer and so much better.  After we peeled the almonds, we chopped all of them except for two.  One of the whole almonds was for the pudding, and the other was the back-up almond in case something happened to the first almond.  As you can see, Ris a la Mande is very serious business.


While I was trying to chop almonds (I didn’t do that good of a job haha), Mads was making the cherry sauce.  It turned out so good that people kept wanting second and third servings of the sauce.

We finished the Ris a la Mande right before the party started and put the whole almond in and mixed it, so that it wasn’t just right on top.  The Ris a la Mande was complete, and everyone was waiting in the room ready to eat and play the game.


This is how the finished product looked.  Mads says that it was just like the Ris a la Mande he gets at home except the cherry sauce is usually thicker.  It was not only the first time I made it, but Mads and Natascha had never made it before either.  It was a very successful first attempt!


We passed out servings and Mads explained the rules.  There are not very many rules, but all the rules are important:

  1. You cannot bite the whole almond, or no one gets the present.
  2. You cannot look for the almond in your food, you have to find it in your mouth.
  3. Most importantly, if you find the whole almond, you should not say it right away so that people will keep trying to look for the almond and eat a lot of Ris a la Mande.

We all started eating and looking around to see if we could tell if someone had the almond.


After a while, Astri admitted that she had had the almond the whole time!  Apparently, it was in her first bite, and she just kept it in her mouth for a long time.  She even faked having the almond at one point, so no one was expecting her to actually have it.  She won a pack of Phase 10 cards and some nice chocolates, which she was so happy about, and I was happy that the Ris a la Mande was such a success!


Here is a recipe I found in case you want to try it for yourself:

Ris a la Mande Recipe

5 Happy Things from Today:

  1. I had a good day at work today.
  2. I bought Mads’ last Christmas present today, which means that I’m almost completely done with Christmas shopping.
  3. I got to skype Mads today (always my favorite thing).
  4. I went to the Christmas Party at my work, and I got my boss for Secret Santa.  I made him some homemade banana pudding, which he said was really good, so that made me really happy, and the party was fun in general.  I got some gloves and socks (exactly what I needed)!
  5. Before bed, we had a family card game night which was pretty fun.  I get really competitive with board games and card games, so I always have fun playing them.

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