Whenever I think about rice pudding, I think of home. There’s something quintessentially childish about that bowl of warm, creamy pudding with hints of vanilla or cinnamon, don’t you think?
My mother would cook the rice pudding on the stove, and serve it to us plain, with marmalade on top. It was only on special occasions that she would bake it with caramelised apples and turn it into a special treat. I can still remember the flavour of those caramelised – almost burnt – apples. the burnt bites were always my favourite.
Not much has changed since then. I still cook my rice pudding on the stove, as my mother did. And occasionally I too bake it with caramelised apples – as a treat. But I also like to play a bit more with flavours and garnishes.
So for today’s recipe I started from my mother’s classic cooking technique, and added my own changes and twists along the way.
Caramelised Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb – chef’s notes
I used risotto rice (Arborio) for this recipe and I cooked the rice pudding in a manner that is slightly similar to risotto. That is – I gradually added the milk and stirred along to get that creamy texture. Regular pudding rice can be used as an alternative, although in this case the cooking time may vary. I used St. Helen’s Farm goats milk (full fat) for its rich, milky flavour. It adds a luxurious flavour to the rice pudding. And I find it easier to digest too.
Tips for perfectly poaching rhubarb
Poaching rhubarb to perfection requires just a little bit of extra time. You’re looking to maintain that vibrant pink colour, but also to maintain the firm texture of the rhubarb. My technique is simple and very effective. Use a 1:1 sugar:water syrup and as soon as it starts to boil, just drop the rhubarb sticks in. Then simply take it off the heat an allow it to cool. In this way, the rhubarb will cook gently into the sugar syrup, while it will maintain its texture and beautiful pink colour.
Why chose St. Helen’s Farm goat milk*
Because it’s a local British business. St. Helen’s Farm goats milk is sourced from the company’s farm and eight other family owned goat farms located in Yorkshire and the Midlands.
Because they care about the environment and are upfront and honest about what they can and can not do. Goats milk cartons are made from paperboard. They do have a food grade plastic coating, but they can be recycled and some local authorities now have collection schemes for this style of beverage carton. Another reason for which they chose paperboard is that it can be delivered as flat cartons and it means they can receive more than a month’s needs on just one vehicle delivery. So it’s kinder to the environment.
Because they care about the animals. St. Helen Farm has secured the Red Tractor farm assured status. It means that they meet agreed standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection.
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb
- 20 g St. Helen’s Farm goats butter
- 80 g risotto rice Arborio
- 700 ml St. Helen’s Farm goats milk full fat
- 350 g caster sugar
- 250 ml water
- 400 g forced rhubarb
- 1 tbsp pistachio
- Heat the butter in a heavy bottom pan, then add the rice and allow it to cook for one minute. Add 25 g of sugar and continue cooking on low heat, until the rice is coated in sugar and starts to caramelise gently. Add 200 ml of milk and 75 g sugar and stir. Continue cooking on very low heat, gradually adding the rest of the milk and stirring occasionally.
- Make a sugar syrup by boiling 250 ml water with 250 g sugar. When the syrup begins to boil, add the rhubarb cut in sticks of about 7cm long. Once the rhubarb is added, take the pan off the heat and allow the rhubarb to gently cook while the liquid is cooling.
- To serve, place the rice pudding into bowls and add rhubarb on top. Garnish with crushed pistachio and lavender (optional).
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