Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Bitter Sweet Simplicity

Budino di Riso con Madorle Grattugiate, Zafarana, Fichi e Miele
Bitter Almond and Saffron Rice Pudding with Figs and Honey

Rice pudding time again! I know, I know... but I just love it! It has not always been that way, in fact, it is a very recently acquired taste for me, but I am enjoying experimenting with different variations very much- and this is my latest creation!

I decided to add some ground almonds into the equation for this sweet dish... and was not expecting the bitter undertones that would develop during cooking. A problem? Not at all! The mellow bitterness just made this into a much more sophisticated and complex version of what is otherwise a pretty everyday dessert. Not this! This is seriously good stuff!

I began by boiling the rice in milk in the usual way- I used 1 cup of rice to 2 of milk. The rice I used was a risotto rice, called Vialone nano- but any old rice-pudding typed short grain rice would be fine. Once it had come up to the boil, I added 1 cupful of ground almonds, a half teaspoon of Stevia, a pinch of salt, a pinch of saffron and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

I reduced the heat to a slow simmer and let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. After this time, I added another cupful of milk, stirred it well and returned it to the heat for a further 5 minutes, stirring every now and then to make sure it didn't stick.

I have to admit, that the additional ground almonds tended to absorb a lot of liquid, so I did add milk every now and then, jut to keep the consistency nice. After 15 minutes, it was almost good, the saffron had begun to exude a gentle yellow glow to the rice and the ground almonds had given the rice a wonderful, marzipan-like flavor... mmm!

I added a little brandy to mine - just a little shot- but enough to round off the bitter-sweet flavors nicely. You can of course skip this step if you so wish... especially if you have children! The last step is to add one last little splash of milk, stir it in, cover and allow to sit and rest for 5 minutes with the lid on top.

I enjoyed mine with a fresh fig and a little honey- the mild freshness was a nice addition to the rich and filling rice. Oh yes- this was a very yummy and satisfying dessert indeed! I recommend you try it yourselves some time!

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