[Raspberry Rice Pudding]
Most of you know by now about Is My Blog Burning?, the collaborative food blogging event, in which food bloggers post a recipe on a particular theme on the same day. Well, today is the 4th edition, hosted by Pim, and the theme this time is “Around the World in a Bowl of Rice”.
As I have come to expect on such occasions, my mind has been a battlefield for the past week, as ever-growing throngs of widely different ideas fought in an effusion of cherry tomato jam, to be selected as the C&Z knight in armor. In the end, as dawn broke and the dust settled on the bodies of the less adroit or more unfortunate combatants, I began to discern the shape of my winner, this simple dessert recipe, standing tall and unscathed in the midst of this desolate scene.
Riz au Lait (“ree-oh-leh”) is the epitomy of the French grandmotherly dessert : simple, homely, comforting, sweet and creamy. It is one of Maxence’s favorite desserts, and both his grandmothers have their own version of it. It sometimes appears on restaurant menus, slightly vamped up, as a part of that “regressive food” trend. We also recently had some in Madrid, where it is called, unsuprisingly, “arroz con leche”. There is no definitive recipe : different versions call for milk only or milk and cream, the milk to cream to sugar to rice proportions vary, as do the flavoring spices : most recipes call for vanilla, but some use cinnamon as well.
I created my version based on several of these recipes, wanting to use only milk (half-skim) and trying to choose a sensible sugar to rice ratio : I wanted sweet, but not overly sweet. Some of the recipes I’d seen mixed in raisins or apples, but I wanted to add some raspberries. This turned out to be an excellent idea : it gives the creamed rice an appetizing pink color, and the tingly raspberry tartness is the perfect companion to the milky taste of this dessert. The raspberries also blend into the creamed rice, thus preserving the nice baby-mush texture that riz au lait fans like so much.
I served this for dessert after one of our impromptu dinners with our neighbors. The creamed rice had cooled to room temperature, and I scooped it into glasses and sprinkled crumbled speculoos on top at the last minute, to create a crunchy/creamy contrast.
Riz au Lait à la Framboise
– 1L fresh milk
– 125 g short-grain rice (Carnaroli, Arborio, any rice labelled “spécial dessert” in France)
– 100 g sugar
– 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
– 150 g raspberries (fresh or frozen, no need to thaw if frozen)
Bring the milk to a simmer in a large saucepan. Pour in the rice, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook without stirring for 30 minutes or until the rice is soft. The milk won’t be completely absorbed at that point (the mixture thickens as it cools).
Add in the sugar, vanilla and raspberries and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. The milk may have formed a “skin” on the sides and bottom of the pan. This is edible, but some people don’t like the look or taste of it : if you don’t want the milk’s skin in your riz au lait, avoid scraping the sides and bottom of the saucepan. Cook for another five minutes.
Transfer the riz au lait into a medium serving bowl (remove any bit of unwanted skin with a fork), and let cool. This can be served at room temperature or cold from the fridge, in small bowls or pretty glasses. Decorate with a fresh raspberry, a mint leaf, or optionally crumble crisp cookies on top.