23 december 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and thanking for another lovely year!

Christmas really start today for me, because December 24th we celebrate in the evening. We have Christmas dinner at around 6 p.m. My dinner consists of duck, roast pork, red cabbage, kale caramel potatoes, gravy, and pudding, which is ris-a-la-mande.

Then we dance around the Christmas tree and sing carols. After that we receive and give the presents while sitting around the tree enjoying the lit candles. It has to be real candles. Later you serve all the baking and chocolates (baked in December) together with coffee and brandy! By now you are almost ready to die of overeating and exhaustion from a full month of serious hard work! Even I get quite pleased about the prospects of a whole year before we have to do this again – before Christmas time arrives once more.

I love it anyway, because its time to reflect, say good by to time spend and welcome things in the coming year, think about life and see family and friends more intensely and talk about what did we do 2011.

Here is my favorite pudding recipes for my Christmas dinner

Rice pudding with warm cherry sauce
This pudding is to die for. To me it is the best in the world and I only eat it at Christmas Eve, and then the leftovers on the days after Christmas. Maybe that’s the reason why I appreciate it so much. I only eat it once a year. When we serve this on Christmas Eve, we also play a little game. One whole almond is added to one of the serving balls and then we sit and eat in suspense: who gets the almond? Finding the almond means that you receive the almond gift. You can also just serve a ball of rice pudding, add the almond, and then let your family eat away until they find it. Since the rice pudding is really heavy, it can be a daunting task!

Serves 6

1.4 liters organic whole milk

2 vanilla pods

250 g short grain pudding rice

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp caster sugar

150 g blanched almonds

200 ml double cream

Cherry sauce

700 g pitted cherries, fresh or frozen

200 g caster sugar

1 vanilla pod

500 ml water

3 tbsp corn flour

Gently heat 1.3 litres of the milk in a large saucepan. slit one of the vanilla pods lengthways, without cutting it all the way through. just before the milk starts to boil, add the rice and the slit vanilla pod. cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring slowly and frequently so that it doesn’t burn. remove the pan from the heat and add the salt. cover and leave for 10 minutes. remove the lid, stir in the sugar and leave to cool (or until the next day).

remove the vanilla pod and transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl. chop the almonds coarsely except for one, which you save for the game. whip the cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks. slit the second vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a knife. add them to the rice. gently fold in the remaining milk, then fold in one-third of the whipped cream. when the mixture is smooth, fold in the rest of the whipped cream and the chopped almonds. taste the pudding: it should be sweet with a flavour of vanilla. spoon the pudding into a serving bowl and hide the almond. cover and place the bowl in the refrigerator.

To make the cherry sauce, put the fruit in a saucepan with the sugar, vanilla pod and water. bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. dissolve the cornflour in enough water to make a thin paste and slowly add it into the cherry sauce, stirring constantly until it thickens and comes slowly to the boil. taste and add some more sugar if necessary but do not make it too sweet because the rice pudding is very sweet and the cherry sauce should add some acidity to it.

Shortly before you are going to serve the rice pudding, reheat the sauce and serve it on the side in a bowl.

Trine Hahnemann