Tuesday, 8 February 2011
Creamy cardamom rice pudding
I’ve been thinking for a while that rice pudding is the perfect frugal dessert and it was time I made it again but it’s quite hard to track down old-fashioned pudding rice these days.
A food writer friend of mine, Andrea Leeman, suggested I try her recipe which uses arborio rice, an ingredient you may well already have in your store cupboard. She also uses evaporated milk which gives it a wickedly creamy texture - and cardamom - which bestows the exotic, scented taste of a kheer.
Evaporated milk is again hard to find in the small tin she recommends which bumps up the cost a bit. Unless of course you make double the quantity which is probably not a good idea given that I’ve already been digging into it as a fridge snack for the past couple of days.
I made it in the Aga but not following the recommended Aga method which involves giving it half an hour in the top oven before transferring it to the lower simmering oven. I found the rice clumped together a bit in between stirring it which could possibly have been avoided if I’d washed it first. And it needed a slightly shorter time than the Aga book recommended - hence the pale caramel colour.
I served it with forced rhubarb poached with a little ginger, a perfect seasonal accompaniment though I do find it a bit ironic that a home grown ingredient that’s in season should be more expensive than imported strawberries.
Here’s Andy's recipe with my notes in italic:
Serves 4 or one person for 4 greedy days
50g arborio or pudding rice (I used 55g)
500ml whole milk
50g caster sugar (I found this a tad sweet. I’d probably reduce it to 40g another time)
170g tin evaporated milk
2-3 cardamom pods (I used 3, crushing them lightly before I added them)
Pre-heat oven to 150°C/Gas mark 2
Stir the rice into the milk in a saucepan (it might be an idea to wash it first). Add the sugar and heat slowly, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the evaporated milk and cardamom. Spoon into a baking dish, cover it with foil and cook for 2½ hours, stirring once an hour (maybe every 45 minutes).
Andy says: "This looks a pathetically small amount of rice and disproportionate quantity of milk liquid, but it all gets absorbed in the cooking. If necessary, add more milk once the pudding has cooled and thickened" (a good idea, this).
Andy’s version doesn’t include skin, of course, which may outrage those of you who think no rice pudding is complete without it. Where do you stand on skin (as it were . . . )