Recollections of ‘real’ rice puddings

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When is the last time you had a ‘real’ rice pudding – not one of those tinned concoctions but one baked slowly in the bottom of the oven, made with whole rice and full cream milk?

My fondest recollection are the rice puddings baked slowly and that developed a skin. I’ve seen pastry chefs remove this before serving, commenting that the guests don’t like it. As if… In Normandy they cook a pudding very similar to ours but incorporate apples to add a unique taste that is excellent served cold in the summer or hot in the winter.

CREAMED RICE NORMANDE

(Serves 4 to 6)

3½ pts/1¾ lt full cream milk; 7oz/175g Whole rice (washed); 6oz/150g sugar (caster/unrefined); ½ tspn cinnamon; 2 apples (peeled/cored/sliced) soaked in Calvados for 10 min.

Method: wash the rice and add to the milk, sugar and cinnamon. Pour into a shallow baking dish. Lay the sliced apples on the top. Place in the bottom of an oven set at 150C/200F, and allow to bake for approx 4 hours, taking care not to disturb the dish. When ready remove the crisp dark crust.

LEMON and PEAR RICE PUDDING BRULEE (Serves 2-4)

1 pt/500ml full cream milk; 2oz/50g whole/short grain rice (washed); 1lb/400g pears, peeled/cored and diced; grated zest of 1 large lemon; 1½ oz/40g caster sugar (to taste); ¼ tspn cinnamon; 2 eggs (separated); ¼ pt/125ml double cream; knob of butter; icing sugar.

Method: bring the milk to the boil, in a pan with the lemon zest. Add the rice and caster sugar and slowly simmer until cooked (approx 30-35 min).

Take from heat and add the diced pears, cream, cinnamon and egg yolks. Whip the egg whites to ‘soft peak’ and gently fold into the mixture and spoon the mixture into a suitable dish for serving (one you can put under the grill for glazing).

Dust with icing sugar and glaze under the grill. Allow to cool and serve.