Sunday, 28 August 2016

Farewell winter

In preparing to bid farewell to winter, what better send off than a dessert-equivalent of a big, warm cuddle?
Rice pudding is an epic childhood favourite of mine, although I have given it a bit of an update with the assistance of Donna Hay (using Arborio rice is life changing).
I’ll get to the pud in a second, but can we just take a moment to praise the simple brilliance of rhubarb?
If you grow it, bravo, I’m yet to get there but fully intend on adding it into the rotation.
Don’t be tempted to try and use everything with rhubarb, it’s not like celery, the leaves are actually poisonous – that goes for humans and animals.
Once the danger has been removed, it’s so simple to prepare, I like to poach it and store in the fridge when cool.
We’ve been using it not only to adorn rice pudding, but also on porridge in the morning and as a snack with yoghurt.
The combination of sweetness with that lovely tart edge is seriously delicious.

Baked Vanilla Rice Pudding with Poached rhubarb
1 bunch of rhubarb stalks (4-6 pieces)
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1 lemon, rind and some juice (or orange)
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
½ cup Arborio rice
1 litre milk
2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
4 pieces lemon peel
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon butter

For the rhubarb, chop stalks into smaller sticks about finger size and place in a small-medium saucepan.
Add the caster sugar, lemon rind and a squeeze of juice, water and vanilla.
Cook over medium heat for about seven minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender.
Set aside to cool.
For the rice pudding, pre-heat your oven to 160C.
Place the rice in an oven-proof dish.
Combine milk, vanilla, sugar and lemon peel, stirring before adding to the rice.
Stir to combine and cover with foil, before placing in the over for one hour.
Remove the foil after an hour, stir and cook for another 30 minutes before adding the butter and a sprinkle of extra sugar.
Cook for a further 10 minutes or until nicely golden.
Serve with a spoonful of poached rhubarb and a dollop of cream of yoghurt.

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