Friday, 30 March 2012

Inside Story

Budino di Riso & Cocco al Forno con il Centro di Crema alla Vaniglia & Pistacchio
Baked Coconut & Cinnamon Rice Pudding with Vanilla Custard Center & Pistachio

Yes, this is indeed an inside story- because anyone can simply pour custard over their dessert, but how often do you have it on the inside? That's right- unless you are having a custard pie, not very often at all!

And that was my dilemma this evening- craving something sweet and not being able to decide if it should be a nice, simple rice pudding or a small custard pie, I decided to treat myself to the best of both worlds... and made it into something rather special at that!

I prepared the rice pudding using a mix of 1/4 coconut and 3/4 rice, which I boiled in skimmed milk, together with cinnamon, a hint of nutmeg and liquid Stevia to sweeten it- 1 teaspoon was plenty for my taste. A tiny squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt rounded off the flavors nicely. I really didn't want it to be overly sweet as there was still the custard to come! The rice took around 20 minutes to cook- which left me plenty of time to pre-heat the oven and to prepare my custard!

I made the custard by whisking together 1 egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of milk, 1 teaspoon of Stevia and 1 heaped tablespoon of corn flour. I brought about a coffee cupful of milk up to the boil, together with a 1" piece of vanilla and a hint of cardamom. I let it simmer gently for 5-6 minutes and then removed it from the stove and poured it through a fine sieve. I stirred a little of it into the egg-yolk / flour mix, mixing it in well and then added more liquid little by little, stirring constantly. In this way you can avoid any lumps happening. Once you have added enough milk that the whole mix is nicely runny, pour it back into the milk and return it to the stove and bring it gently back up to the boil, stirring continuously until it thickens down to a nice consistency.

I spooned the finished rice-pudding into my oven-proof bowl and made a hollow in the center, into which I poured the rapidly thickening and piping hot custard... and off it went, into ma hot oven to be turned into something wonderful! I baked it at 400° for around 10 minutes and then added a light drizzle of honey to the rice pudding, just to give it a nicer color and a lightly caramelized flavor. After 5 more minutes it was golden brown and ready to be served! A sprinkle of pistachio splinters gave a nice, contrasting texture and flavor and was the finishing touch to this wonderful little dessert with a heart of gold... I hope you like it as much as I did!

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