Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rice Pudding, Anyone? Part 2

I may never eat rice pudding again.  Well, maybe not for a few months anyway.

I have finally come up with a recipe I like.  Nice texture to the rice, nice flavor, and creamy sauce.  I tried four different recipes and then devised my own after I figured out what I liked and didn't like about what I found online.

As I said in an earlier post, making this should be quite simple.  But how do you get everything to come together?  Something that does not have just rice swimming in milk.

Growing up in an Italian household, we had our fair share of rice.  Leftover rice from dinner became breakfast; rice with warm milk and sugar.  I guess that was my mother's version of rice pudding. 

And I have yet to duplicate her version of 'risi e bisi', rice with peas in a broth, very typical of Northern Italian risottos.  This link is typical of her style of cooking.  There are no quantities of anything listed!

When I attended Wayne State University Medical School, we were just across the freeway from Greektown.  It became our place to go for a decent lunch, was the first place where I ever tasted lamb, and where I developed a taste for rice pudding.  We usually ate at Hellas, which closed in 2008 after 107 years in the neighborhood.  My fond memories did not help in the creation of this recipe, though.  It still is not quite the same, but it will have to suffice.

Now, if you try this recipe and don't like it, don't tell me.  Work it out on your own, and let me know what you come up with.  And pardon the picture, it was almost as hard to take a good one as it was to make the pudding.  Without further ado:

Vanilla Rice Pudding with Citrus


3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Arborio rice, rinsed will
pinch sea salt
1 whole vanilla bean (I used a Mexican bean)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp Fiori di Sicilia
grated rind of one orange
cinnamon for topping, if desired


In a heavy-bottom sauce pan, heat milk, cream, rice, salt, and scraped vanilla bean seeds and entire pod to just boiling.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring every five minutes, or so, for 20-25 minutes, or until rice is tender to the bite.

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolk and sugar together in small bowl.  Mixture will be quite thick.

When rice is ready, slowly stream some of the hot liquid into the egg-sugar mixture while constantly whisking.  Add enough to get a liquid consistency, about 1/2 cup.  Then whisk the egg-sugar mixture into the sauce pan.  Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. 

When the pudding is done, remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract, fiori di sicilia and the orange rind.  Stir.  Pour into a bowl and allow to cool, then chill for five hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

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