Creamy, sweet Norwegian rice pudding a reminder of home
'It reminds me of home and tradition'
Every year at Christmastime, Agnete Toesti tends to a pot of rice, immersed in milk, with a hint of vanilla — and a side of nostalgia.
Riskrem or rice pudding is "the ultimate Christmas dessert in Norway," says Toesti, who now calls Toronto home but is originally from the Scandinavian country.
"I live so far away from Norway," she says. "[Riskrem] is something that is very comforting and nice. It reminds me of home and tradition."
Riskrem is a chilled rice porridge with softly-whipped cream folded in to create a "creamy, sort of sweet" dessert, she says. It is usually served with a tart raspberry sauce.
Her parents would tuck a single blanched almond into one serving of the riskrem, a Norwegian tradition.
"Whoever gets it, gets a special prize," Toesti says, conceding that one of her grandparents always seemed to win.
As a young girl, Toesti would work alongside her grandmother to make the risotto-like dish.
"I think I was about 10 years old when I first started making it but I had to practice because I would always burn the bottom."
She recalls decadent Christmas Eve dinners with roasted pork belly, sausage, sauerkraut, roasted apples and lingonberry sauce.
"It was such a seamless, beautiful atmosphere in the house," she says.
"My grandmother, my aunts — they would sort of run of the show."
"When evening came, they would just say 'it's ready.'"
- 1/2 cup arborio rice
- 4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 cup cold arborio rice pudding
- 1 cup cold cream, whipped to soft peaks
- Approx. 1 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, thawed (or use strawberries as an alternative)
- 1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pulverize raspberries with sugar and lemon juice. Add water for thinner consistency, if needed. Strain sauce to remove seeds.
Combine rice, milk, sugar, split vanilla bean and salt in a large saucepan.
Bring mixture to a gentle boil.
Bring mixture to a simmer and stir occasionally, for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Chill the mixture for a few hours.
Fold whipped cream into the mixture to make the riskrem.