The traditional dessert on a Swedish Christmas buffet-style dinner table is “risgrynsgröt”; sort of a “porridge” made with rice as base. But this dessert is quite heavy, especially after all those other dishes, starting with pickled herring, then on to sausages, ribs, followed by the main course – the baked ham with all the trimmings.
So most people prefer the lighter version called “ris à la Malta”. Ris=rice. Here whipped cream is folded into the rice porridge and then it is served with the customary berry sauce, usually strawberries, or sometimes with clementines* and cinnamon.
(The not so sexy version goes like this: since people in the old days traditionally celebrated Christmas for three days, and the same foods were served over again, for days (actually as long as the dishes lasted – could be weeks even), the easiest way to dress up cold, clammy rice porridge was to fold in some whipped cream and top it with something sweet and fruity like preserved strawberries).
The name “ris à la Malta” comes from the Danish risalamande, which in turn is based on riz à l’amande, French for rice with almond. So the name in fact has nothing to do with the island Malta.
In the raw Rice à la Malta, soaked buckwheat replaces the cooked rice and cashews with honey and vanilla make up the whipped cream. Both strawberries AND clementines are used here as topping – why not? It is Christmas!
The recipe comes from Tina Nordström’s TV show called “Tina’s Julkök”. Together with one of her guests, raw food expert Erica Palmcrantz, Tina made this dish. Thanks to both of you!
Raw rice à la Malta
1 cup buckwheat groats, whole and hulled, soaked (2,4 dl)
1 cup cashew nuts (2,4 dl)
¼ – ½ cup water (0,6-1,2 dl)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
1 package of frozen strawberries, thawed (10 oz, 225 g)
4 large soft dates, soaked a bit if dry
2 Clementines, peeled and finely chopped
Optional: 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs (chopped cacao bean)
1. Soak buckwheat groats in plenty of water, at least in two times as much, for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Discard the water. Using a colander or sieve, rinse the somewhat slimy groats, really, really well. Place buckwheat in a mixing bowl.
3. Add cashews to blender cup with some of the water. Blend until creamy, adding more water only to facilitate blending. The texture should be thick.
4. Add honey and vanilla and blend until very smooth and fluffy. Taste and adjust.
5. Pour the cream over and gently mix with the buckwheat.
6. Place into serving bowls.
7. Blend the strawberries with dates to a smooth sauce.
8. Add sauce to the buckwheat and top with clementines and cacao nibs.
Since buckwheat is an herb and not a grain, it is free from gluten. It is also rich in protein and has slow carbohydrates, meaning it will keep you feeling full for a long time. There is a red colored toxin in the buckwheat shells which sometimes is transferred to the groats. Remove this by thoroughly and meticulously rinsing the soaked buckwheat.
*What is a Clementine?
A clementine is the smallest of the mandarin oranges about 2 inches in diameter. The bright orange peel is loose on the fruit, making it exceptionally easy to peel. Unlike its cousin the tangerine, the clementine has no seeds. “Cutie” is a new name in the US for this fruit.
Clementines are popular during the winter holidays, earning them the nickname “Christmas oranges.” They begin to appear in stores around the middle of November and are generally available through February.
I hope you will make the Raw Rice a la Malta dessert, and please let me know your thoughts.