In Norway, an almond is hidden inside one of these Christmas rice puddings, and the lucky recipient gets a gift--usually a marzipan pig.
Sunset DECEMBER 2005
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a 3- to 4-quart nonstick pan, simmer milk, rice, 1/2 cup sugar, and the salt, stirring often, until rice is tender to bite and mixture has thickened, about 30 minutes. Add almond extract. Pour into a large bowl and let cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bake almonds in a 9-inch pie pan until golden under skins (break one to check), about 10 minutes. Reserve one almond (see note above); chop remaining.
3. In a blender, whirl raspberries until smooth. Push purée through a fine wire strainer set over a bowl; discard seeds. Sweeten purée with sugar to taste (1 to 2 tablespoons).
4. In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream, the one whole almond, and the chopped almonds into cool rice mixture just until blended. Spoon into eight bowls.
5. Shortly before serving, heat preserves in a microwave oven on full power (100%) just until hot. If mixture is too thick to pour, whisk in a little hot water. Drizzle preserves and raspberry sauce over pudding.
You can make the pudding through step 4 up to 1 day ahead; cover and chill.
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