Rice pudding is a dish made from rice, mixed with water or milk and other ingredients such as cinnamon and raisins. Different variants are used for either desserts or dinners. When used as a dessert, it is commonly combined with a sweetener such as sugar. Such desserts are found on many continents, especially Asia where rice is a staple. This dish can be found all corner of the world. It can be made in two ways: in a saucepan or by baking in the oven.
In a saucepan, it is made by gently simmering the milk and rice until tender, and then the sugar is carefully mixed in. Finally, the cream is mixed in, and it can either be left to cool and be served at room temperature, or it can be heated and served hot. It should have a very creamy consistency.
Rice pudding baked in the oven
When made it in the oven, the pudding rice is placed into a baking dish, and the milk, cream and sugar are mixed in. The dish is then placed in the oven and baked at a low temperature for a few hours, until the rice is tender and the pudding has a creamy consistency. While cooking, the pudding may develop a thick crust, which adds an interesting texture to the pudding.
(Don’t let the lengthy recipe scare you off, it’s easy to make).
Ingredients: 3 ounces of white long-grain rice, 5.5 ounces of barley flour, or all-purpose flour, 0.30 ounce of fresh yeast, 1/3 cup of whole milk, tepid, 4 cups of whole milk, cold, 1.4 ounces of butter, unsalted, cold, 1 ounce of vanilla sugar, 4.5 ounces of sugar, caster, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 2 egg yolk, 1 egg, 1 pinch of table salt
Add the flour, fresh yeast, cold butter, 1 egg yolk, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of the (caster) sugar to a clean blender.
Pulse into a dry and crumble mixture. Pour in the tepid milk. Pulse again until you get a sticky dough.
Pour the dough onto a well floured surface. Sprinkle with extra flour and start kneading it for 3 to 4 minutes until smooth.Shape the dough into a ball and wrap it up in cling film. Let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime combine the rice, 2 cups (480 ml) of the cold milk and the vanilla sugar in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat lower and simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the milk has been absorbed.
Heat up the rest of the cold milk. In another saucepan add 1 egg yolk and the (caster) sugar. Whisk into a creamy mixture for a couple of minutes and then gradually pour in the hot milk while stirring constantly. Add the cornstarch. Whisk the sauce over medium heat for 4 minutes until you get a runny custard consistency.
Add this to the cooked rice and stir well. Put the rice filling aside for now. Roll out the dough on a well flour surface and coat a tart tin with it. I used a tin of 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter.
Scoop the creamy rice filling in it and spread it evenly. Beat the remaining egg and brush the top with the egg wash.
Bake the rice pie in a preheated oven at 356°F (180°C) for about 40 minutes until the top and the crust is golden brown. Remove the freshly baked pie from the oven and let it cool in its tin. Cut it into wedges and serve, preferably lukewarm.
When I was in Spain (In San Sebastian) I ate this Catalan rice cake and I loved it as well, so here is the recipe:
Ingredients: ⅔ cup Arborio rice, 4 ¾ cups milk, cinnamon sticks, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom, grated zest of 1 lemon, 2 teaspoons cardamom pods, cracked with the side of a knife, ¾ cup heavy cream, 3 eggs, 2 egg yolks, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Lightly butter, or use cooking spray, on a 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish (preferably nonstick). In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in rice and cook for 15 minutes. Drain, then add rice to a medium saucepan with 4 cups of the milk, the cinnamon sticks and the ground cardamom. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the rice is very tender. Drain away any milk that has not been absorbed, then put rice into a medium bowl and stir in the lemon zest.
- To make the custard, in a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine the remaining 3/4 cup milk, the cardamom pods and the cream. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks, salt and 1/3 cup of the sugar. When the milk mixture comes to a simmer, slowly ladle it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the pan (discarding cardamom), then stir in the rice.
- To make the caramel, in a heavy small saucepan stir together the remaining cup of sugar and 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture turns a honey-amber shade. Immediately pour into the soufflé dish, swirling to make sure the caramel coats about 3/4 of the height of the dish.
- Without waiting for the caramel to harden, immediately pour the rice mixture into the caramel-coated soufflé dish. Fill a large roasting pan halfway with very hot tap water, and place the soufflé dish in the roasting pan. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil and punch several holes in the foil in the corners of the roasting pan. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for about 2 hours (start checking after 1 hour and 45 minutes) or until the custard is set around the edges but the center still jiggles slightly. Remove dish from the water bath, cool on a rack, then refrigerate until set and cold, at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
- To serve, place the soufflé dish in a large bowl filled with enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the soufflé dish. Let stand for 20 minutes, dry the bottom of the soufflé dish, then run a knife around the edge of the custard and turn it out onto a platter. (It will stick and not look picture perfect.) Serve with a spoon.