Monday, 1 April 2013

Rice and Shine!

Crema di Riso con i Canditi d'Arancia & Profumo di Rosmarino
Rice Pudding with Rosemary & Candied Orange

Finally the sun came out in Frankfurt today! Spring was in the air- but it was still SO cold!
So cold that this afternoon, whilst craving something sweet, I needed something nice and warm at the same time... a slice of cake was just not going to do the trick! But I came up with this magic trick instead- and I am so glad that I did! Because it brought a bit of Sicilian sunshine into my day!

Candied fruits have a long and enduring tradition is Sicily... not these little industrial cubes that you see in my recipe, but luscious, large, often whole fruits, that are preserved is sugar. And they are beautiful- and no doubt delicious... but only in moderation!!! Also, at prices of upwards of $30 per pound, enjoying in moderation becomes easy ;-) Which is why the mass-produced ones exist- and why you and I and the rest of the world uses them! These are cubed pieces of orange, lemon or lime peel generally speaking, that are preserved by soaking in sugar for a number of days, but that then have a very long shelf-life. They are often used in fruit cakes and Christmas pastries... and today they were used in a rice pudding!

To make this yummy dessert, all you will need is some short-grained pudding rice, a handful of candied orange peel, 1 small sprig of rosemary, some cinnamon, sweetener in the form of Stevia or sugar and of course milk. Oh- and that all important pinch of salt of course!

I started the milk boiling and added the candied orange peel and the rosemary, the cinnamon and the Stevia in my case (although of course you can use sugar), then added the rice. I wanted the orange peel to have plenty of time to soften- but also for the smaller pieces, to actually dissolve into the milk during cooking, so as to infuse more flavor. I had three times as much milk in the saucepan as rice... and it would only be considered ready by the time that all became absorbed... so that meant plenty of stirring! So... turn down the heat to a low, rolling simmer... and be prepared!

Ok, I was only kidding about the stirring- you will only need to stir occasionally, but you will need to stay close by for at least 20 minutes or so... but it will be worth it! Make sure not to forget the pinch of salt, which you always need in any sweet dish to give balance- and do taste the milk after the initial 10 minutes of cooking time, just to see how intense the rosemary flavor is, as that can vary wildly from being very mild- to most extreme! So that requires some judgement of your own- in my case, I did remove it after about 15 minutes.

After around 25 minutes, you will have a lovely, orange-flavored and perfumed rice pudding- lovely and mild, with little bursts of marmalade-like tanginess from the candied peel... yum! I added a sprinkle of cinnamon before serving and enjoyed it steaming hot- although I am sure this would work just as well chilled! Either way, it was something a little different, but totally cool... and something I hope you will enjoy!

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