Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Rice Pudding or riz au lait.
A fundamentally humble recipe, this is comfort food at its best. Actually, we have not met anyone yet who does not like rice pudding or “Milchreis” as we call it. We all grew up on this dessert and we all have fond memories of eating it.
I have made rice pudding so many times, I believe that I (or anyone else in my family) can prepare it with my (or their) eyes closed. Sometimes I serve it plain, with cinnamon sugar, with all kinds of fruits, with apple sauce or spiced pear compôte. I bake brownies and cakes with rice pudding. And one of my family´s very favorite recipe is the famous “Tarte au riz belge”, a tart filled with creamy rice pudding that is extremly popular in Belgium, the Netherlands (the Limburg region) and in the City of Aachen.
My taste testers were a little irritated when I told them that the designated recipe for today was rice pudding, they were expecting something a bit more “out of the ordinary”. But since the kids consider this to be one of their very favorite dessert of all times and simply never tire of it, they were forgiving.
Obviously, rice plays a pivotal role in rice pudding. The classic choice is, of course, is so-called “pudding rice”. This is not a specific type of rice, but a generic description for short-grained white rice used for making rice pudding. Over the years, I found numerous recipes calling for other sorts, including long-grained basmati. But whichever rice you use, the important thing is that it should give a soft, creamy, slightly sticky result. Pudding rice is widely available in German supermarkets. Make sure to look for rice with plump, shiny, round grains.
Dorie´s recipe calls for Arborio rice (which is also the rice I used when I could not find specific “pudding rice”), milk, sugar and pure vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. I scraped the seeds of one whole vanilla bean into the milk and added the scraped bean as well - this adds a wonderful pure vanilla flavor to the rice pudding.
When the rice pudding was cooked and had cooled for a while, I prepared some caramelized Italian plums using a few tablespoons of local honey, the juice of an orange and cinnamon and those very seasonal and wonderful Italian plums that are abundantly available right now.
Well, happy faces all around! Nice to be making rice pudding with caramelized Italian plums on a Friday afternoon for the whole family! And I liked serving this widely popular dessert in my small WECK jars that I like so much - this delicious rice puddding was a perfectly good excuse to be using them again!
If you are interested to see how the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group prepared this fabulous dessert, please do click here.