It might seem odd to include a recipe for rice pudding in a Christmas baking series. Odder still to suggest it be served as an appetiser, but this is how we begin Christmas dinner every year. It's a Danish tradition introduced by my mothers' family and we love it. Risengrod is a simple, not overly sweet rice pudding served with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and a knob of butter. Hidden in one bowl is a single blanched almond. Whoever finds it must disguise the discovery for the entire course and, when everyone is finished, then reveals the almond to receive a prize (traditionally a pink marzipan pig). My grandmother used to be in charge of making the risengrod and would clear the kitchen when she hid the almond. Now it's Mum's job and this is her recipe.
3/4 cup short grain rice
2 cups cream
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp caster sugar (or to taste)
Cinnamon sugar and cold, cubed butter, to serve
Rince the rice well and place in a large saucepan. Cover with the remaining ingredients, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 35 minutes, stirring regularly. It's done when the liquid is nearly all absorbed and the rice is tender. If you feel there's too much liquid towards the end of the cooking time, remove from heat and cover with a clean tea towel and then the saucepan lid, this should absorb some of the excess.
Mote - If making this a day in advance, you might find the dish will need a little extra milk to 'loosen' up when reheating.