November 5, 2012

Stovetop Rice Pudding for Emergencies

Dinner tonight was some kalamata olive hummus (via Trader Joe's) with pita chips and a bowl of stovetop rice pudding...something warm and soothing on this cold and dreary pre-election evening.

Rice pudding is traditionally made by either cooking raw white rice and sweetened milk in the oven for a couple hours or cooking the raw rice and milk on the stove, then slowly adding beaten eggs and sugar. I've even seen recipes that call for simmering cooked white rice with milk and spices.

Those recipes have never appealed to me. Rice pudding as always ranked low on my dessert spectrum, right below tapioca pudding. I just don't want chunks in my should-be-smooth-and-creamy sweets. That is, until I saw Nigella Lawson's version.

Nigella, people. That means that this rice pudding is probably the sexiest rice pudding you've ever seen.

The Domestic Goddess's recipe is essentially a sweet risotto (which seems to make a lot of culinary sense to me). Caramel-coated arborio rice is cooked slowly with warm milk gradually added and finished with heavy cream and vanilla. I sweetened mine with honey (instead of sugar) and threw in some spiced rum-soaked raisins at the end.

Stovetop Rice Pudding for Emergencies
recipe & photo from Nigella Bites

Nigella Lawson writes: "For those days when you just can't wait the three hours for proper, old-fashioned rice pudding, this is what you need. In fact, it's just a sweet risotto, with warm milk substituted for the stock. This does mean that the rice takes longer to cook--and what's more, you want it rather less al dente than is usually desirable--but it's the best I can offer. Anyway, you can't, on eating this, resent one moment of your stoveside-stirring captivity."

2 3/4 cup whole milk
1 heaping tablespoon unsalted butter
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Heat the milk (on medium-low heat) in a pan that preferably has a lip, which will make pouring easier (or give it a couple of minutes in a plastic or glass measuring cup in the microwave). When it's about to boil (but don't let it), turn off the heat. 
  • Melt the butter and a tablespoonful of the sugar in a heavy-based pan. When hissing away in a glorious pale caramelly pool, add the rice and stir to coat stickily. 
  • Gradually add the milk (I added 1/4 cup at a time), stirring the rice all the time, and letting each swoosh of milk get absorbed into the consequently swelling rice before adding the next bit. 
  • To see when it's ready, start tasting at 20 minutes, but be prepared to go on for 35. You may want to add more milk, too (and if the rice tastes cooked before all the milk's absorbed, don't use all of it).
  • When the rice feels as it should, thick and sticky and creamy, take it off the heat and beat in another tablespoonful or more of sugar (or honey), the vanilla, and as much of the cream of you like. Think of this as the mantecatura: the final addition to a risotto, to thicken and add fat-globular volume, normally of butter and grated Parmesan; indeed just add butter if you haven't got any cream in the house.
Serves 1, according to Nigella. But, it's easily enough for 2.

No comments: