Monday, January 18, 2010

Rich Risotto Rice Pudding

My family gave me the Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey cookbook by Jill O'Connor for hosting Thanksgiving. There are so many wonderful desserts in the book that we went through the book as a family and wrote down all of the pages of each of the desserts we wanted to try.  We put all the slips of paper in a bowl and drew.  First up ... rice pudding.  I have never had rice pudding.  I don't like rice but, I like pudding.  The recipe calls for half a vanilla bean.  Was this recipe worthy of one of my expensive vanilla beans?  I had no idea but, we gave it a try.  Today was a rainy day so, as the pudding cooked on the stove the kitchen had a nice warm cinnamon and vanilla scent which took the chill out of the air.  The recipe took time and attention to cooking but, pulling it together was a snap.  The verdict is we like rice pudding.  It was thick, creamy, rich and sweet.  If this is any indication of the recipes in the book we are in for many more treats.

Rich Risotto Rice Pudding
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor

½ cup Arborio (risotto) rice
8 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
2 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine the rice, milk, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and salt in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring every 5 minutes as the mixture starts to thicken, for about 30 minutes.
Continue cooking until the rice is tender but not too mushy, about 15 minutes longer. The milk will be thick and the rice tender, but the mixture will still be very soupy, which is what you want. (As the pudding cools, it thickens, and if it is too thick while still hot, it will firm up into a thick, stodgy lump without the unctuous creaminess of a great rice pudding.)

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cream together and stir into the rice pudding. Continue cooking the pudding over medium-low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the eggs are cooked through and pudding is creamy and glossy, but still fairly soupy. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Remove the vanilla pod.

Pour the pudding into a serving bowl or individual serving dishes and press plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 to 3 hours. Serve

Notes: I did not need the extra 15 minutes and the 30 minutes may have been slightly too long.

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