What's Cooking

Rice Cream Pudding

By Debbie Sorensen

As I write this column, it is Epiphany, January 6th. In light of all that slams us these days, I am grateful that I have memories of another time and place. Those memories have rooted me in the meaning of this season that comes after Christmas and New Years’.

Epiphany means “revelation.” Many Christians around the world annually celebrate Epiphany on this date. Other names for the day are “Twelfth Night” or “Little Christmas.” It is a public holiday in some countries and marks two events in the life of Jesus Christ, according to the Bible. The first event, commemorates how a star led the Magi, the Kings or Wise Men, to the baby Jesus. The second, acknowledges the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. In some traditions, this is seen as the manifestation of Christ as both fully human and fully divine.

On occasion as a child, my mother would invite the surrounding neighbors to an Epiphany party at our ranch. Folks would cram into our home, eat and then sing Christmas Carols for a final time. We shared good will and appreciation for all that we were blessed with. It was that final wrap up of the holidays. We stood together, in that we were part of a greater community and the family of God.

Years later, as part of a Sons of Norway Lodge, we would gather to celebrate this special day with a Scandinavian Smorgasbord. After eating, we would join hands and make a circle around a Christmas tree in the middle of the room. Then came singing Christmas carols as we moved around the tree in time to the favorite music of old. We left refreshed, encouraged and ready to go forth into the new year and do good. My hope for all of us, is that we would have an “epiphany” moment and do the same.

The following recipe is similar to something served at those gatherings. Erna Oleson Xan and Sigrid Marstrander wrote Time-Honored Norwegian Recipes, adapted to the American kitchen.

Riskrem or Rice Pudding

2 1/4 c. milk 1/4 c. rice

1 1/2 T. sugar 4 T. blanched and chopped almonds

2 T. butter 2 c. whipping cream, whipped stiff

1 tsp. vanilla 1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/2 c. cold water

Put milk in top of double boiler and bring to a boil. When it is bubbling around the edge, add the rice and stir. Let cook for about 50 minutes or until rice is well done. While still hot, add sugar, almonds and butter. Let it cool completely.

Fold in the stiffly beaten whipped cream and the vanilla. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small saucepan. Place over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin dissolves (about 3 minutes). Cool. Fold into the rice and whipped cream mixture. Spoon into a large, pretty bowl and refrigerate. Serve 8.

Red Sauce:

1 box frozen strawberries 1 c. water 1 1/2 T. cornstarch

Boil strawberries and water for 5 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in a little water. Add to the sauce, bring a boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool.

When serving, pass the bowl or rice cream around the table followed by the pitcher of the red sauce to pour over the rice.