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            Rice Pudding With Warm Cherry Sauce

            Traditionally, this dish is served in Scandinavia on Christmas Eve, when it helps provide the entertainment. A whole almond is hidden in the centre of the pudding, and whoever finds it gets a present. We skip the almond in this version, however its a great way to keep the kids busy when feeding the whole family. This dish takes an hour to make and serves up to eight people.


            1.5 litres semi-skimmed milk
            1 vanilla pod, split
            250g pudding rice
            2 tablespoons brown sugar
            200ml double cream
            50g blanched almonds, roughly chopped

            For the cherry sauce

            700g cherries, fresh or tinned and drained
            150g caster sugar
            1 teaspoon sea salt
            1 vanilla pod, split
            Juice of 1 lemon
            200ml water plus 2 tablespoons for paste
            2 tablespoons cornflour


            1. In a large pan, heat the milk and add the vanilla pod. Bring the milk to the boil, and just before it boils, add the rice. Turn the heat down and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
            2. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid, and leave for 10 minutes.
            3. Remove the lid and stir in the sugar. Leave the pudding to cool, then transfer it to a large bowl.
            4. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
            5. Gently fold half of the whipped cream into the rice. When the mixture is smooth, add the remaining cream, then fold in the almonds. Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl, cover and chill in the fridge.
            6. To make the sauce, put the cherries, sugar, salt, vanilla pod, lemon juice and water in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes.
            7. Mix the cornflour and 2 tablespoons of water together to make a thin paste, and slowly add this to the cherry sauce, stirring continuously until it thickens and the sauce comes to the boil.
            8. Spoon the cold rice pudding into bowls, and serve with the warm cherry sauce.

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