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 . . . )


Robert said...

Glad to see this post as I saw a mention on Twitter the other day. As to skin, it got to be slightly caramelised and nutmeggy. Rice pud is a fantastic versatile ingredient as I've enjoyed them all from the Indian spiced ones via Thai sticky rice to traditional English puddings.

Unknown said...

oh yes! I've been planning my own cardamom rice pudding this week, but the addition of evaporated milk is inspired! I'm a convert to the stuff since using it in a Nigella macaroni cheese.

Helen said...

I saw this earlier and had to make it as I happened to have a can of evaporated milk in the cupboard. I'm never going to make rice pudding without it again!! This tastes absolutely gorgeous and it's really creamy.

Highly recommended. I'm gorging myself on a big bowl of it now :-))

Sarah said...

This sounds interesting. I saw some evaporated milk on sale recently, just have to remember where...

I don't think I have an opinion on skin although I suppose I'd tend towards without.

Fiona Beckett said...

It is good isn't it? (Evaporated milk, not skin, that is) Wondering also what the effect would be if you got some really good rich 'breakfast milk' like the old-fashioned gold top. Ironically evaporated milk is not that cheap

Sarah said...

I made it yesterday. My youngest son found the exotic taste a bit off-putting initially, but cleaned his plate, and my dearly beloved had two helpings.

I left it in the oven the full 2.5hrs and it went a lovely light brown. I'm wondering if using brown sugar would improve the taste even more.

I found both dessert rice and small tins of evaporated milk at Carrefour, to my surprise!

Fiona Beckett said...

It might well do. I used unrefined caster sugar which I think gave it its fetching pale caramel colour