In the Scandinavian countries, it’s traditional to place a single whole almond in the rice pudding served at Christmastime. Whoever finds it receives good luck for the year and a marzipan pig, a yuletide symbol of this good fortune. We usually make this rice pudding for Christmas, but seeing as we’ll be eating it on New Year’s Eve this year, it seems fitting to present the pig as a hogmanay.
Swedish rice pudding differs from other rice puddings in its heightened creaminess and richness. I cook two eggs with additional sugar into the pudding and fold two cups of whipped heavy cream into the chilled rice pudding. It’s pretty heavenly, with or without the sour cherry compote.
This recipe is part of a winter menu (here).
Swedish Rice Pudding with Spiced Sour Cherry Compote
I use short grain rice, such as sushi rice or Arborio rice, in my rice pudding. It’s not traditional, but it makes the pudding extra creamy. If you use sushi rice, give it a few rinses in cool water before cooking it.
Tempering means adding a little of a hot liquid to a cooler liquid to before adding the cooler liquid to the rest of the hot liquid. In this case you stir a little of the hot milk and rice into the eggs before adding them to the pudding. If you don’t temper the eggs in this way, you risk forming scrambled eggs in your pudding.
Bear in mind that the pudding will be significantly thicker when it is cold. You only need to cook it until it thickens slightly in the final stage.
The rice pudding and compote will keep covered in the refrigerator for about one week.
Swedish Rice Pudding
¾ c. short grain rice
1 ½ c. water
pinch of salt
4 c. whole milk
1 c. sugar, divided
1 t. vanilla
2 c. heavy cream (I love Cedar Summit Farms.)
cinnamon for dusting the top
1 whole almond to hide in the pudding
- In a very large pan, bring the water to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the rice.
- Cover the pan and simmer undisturbed for 15 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all of the water.
- Add the milk, ½ c. sugar, and the vanilla to the pan and stir them together.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the vanilla bean.
- Whisk together the eggs and the remaining ½ c. sugar.
- Temper the eggs by stirring a little of the rice and milk into the eggs and sugar. Then whisk the eggs gradually into pan.
- Cook on the lowest possible heat, stirring constantly, for a few minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Do not allow the mixture to begin to boil.
- Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and cover it with cellophane pressed directly to it. Chill it in the refrigerator.
- When the pudding is cold, whip the cream and fold it gently into the pudding.
- Transfer the pudding to a serving dish, press a single almond into the pudding, and dust the top with cinnamon if you wish.
Serve plain or with the spiced sour cherry compote.
Spiced Sour Cherry Compote
20 ounces frozen sour cherries
good red wine to nearly cover
a few glugs of good port
½ c. sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 star anise
small handful of allspice berries
piece of a whole nutmeg
small handful of red peppercorns
1 T. cornstarch
- Put the cherries into a medium pan. Pour in good red wine ‘til it reaches the bottom of the top layer of cherries.
- Pour in a few glugs of good port until the liquid nearly covers the cherries.
- Stir in the sugar and salt.
- Place the cinnamon sticks, star anise, allspice berries, nutmeg, and red peppercorns on a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Tie it into a bundle with cooking string and place it in the pan.
- Split the vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise and add it to the pan.
- Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat.
- Stir a little water into the cornstarch to make a smooth paste.
- Stir it into the pan and simmer for a minute.
- If it is not sufficiently thick, make a little more cornstarch paste and add it slowly to the pan.
- Remove the spice pouch and vanilla bean from the compote and serve warm.
You may refrigerate the compote if you are going to serve it later.
Warm it over the lowest heat possible and serve it warm.