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Rice pudding with hot cherry sauce

I eat pudding once a year and that’s on Christmas Eve. Not to get the whole almond hidden in the Christmas pudding and win the “almond gift” but because it is a delicious tradition and I love the taste of the cold velour pudding together with the hot sweet cherry sauce.

For the rice pudding you will need:
2 vanilla pods
300g short-grain pudding rice
1.6 liters whole milk
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
150g blanched almonds
500ml double cream

For the cherry sauce you will need:
700g pitted cherries, fresh or frozen
150g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
3 tbsp corn flour

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. BUT stir often to make sure 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 make it the day before and leave it overnight.

Roughly chop all the almonds except for one, which much be left whole for the game.

Remove the vanilla pod and transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl. Cut the second vanilla pod lengthways, scrap out the seeds with the tip of a knife and mix it with a little caster sugar. Then add it to the rice. Whip the cream in a bowl until if 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 flavor of vanilla. Hide the whole almond in the pudding.

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. Shake the corn flour in 3 tbsp of water and slowly add the mixture to the cherries until they thicken, stirring constantly. Season with sugar if you want. Serve the cold rice pudding with the hot cherry sauce.
Maj-Britt Vittrup Nielsen