Rice Pudding With Crunchy Quinoa Topping | THE NIBBLE Blog - Adventures In The World Of Fine Food RECIPE: Rice Pudding With A Modern Twist – THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food
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RECIPE: Rice Pudding With A Modern Twist

It’s almost comfort food time again.

Nibblers are always on the lookout for a new twist on just about anything. But sometimes it’s hard to change on when it comes to comfort food. We like what we like. We don’t mess around with favorites, like, say, rice pudding.

Rice pudding, the way mom used to make it or the way it scoops out of a cinnamon-y plastic cup, is a basic feel-good food. It soothes stress, its velvety smoothness coats the tongue, its toasty quinoa topping—whoa! Its what?

Cue pastry chef Jessica Sullivan, pride of Delfina’s and five other same-owner neighborhood eateries in and around San Francisco’s Mission. Delfina’s is a long-standing favorite that’s managed to survive the Mission’s trendy rebirth. Its loyal customers liked the menu that had served them for years, so Jessica didn’t want to disrupt too much when she arrived as pastry chef.

But the rice pudding sparked her interest. What could she do to make it rice pudding with more? Her solution was to combine crunchiness and creaminess in every mouthful with the puffed quinoa, candied with toffee.

 

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Rice pudding with roasted apricots and a crunchy quinoa-toffee topping. Photo courtesy Jessica Sullivan.

 
The results are irresistible. Pick up your spoon, plunge it through the crunchy candied quinoa topping into the thick, creamy pudding and you’re in on one of the best dessert adventures of the decade. While the recipe may seem like work, it’s really not. The rice pudding, candied quinoa and apricots can be made ahead of time, and everything assembled right before serving.

RICE PUDDING WITH CRUNCHY QUINOA TOPPING

This recipe is courtesy Jessica Sullivan, Delfina, San Francisco.
 
Ingredients For 8 One-Cup Servings

For The Rice Pudding

  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1¼ cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice*
  • ¾ cup crème fraîche
  • Heavy cream, as needed
  •  
    For The Toffee

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    For The Candied Quinoa Topping

  • 2 cups puffed quinoa†
  • ½ cup ground toffee (recipe ingredients above)
  •  
    For The Apricot Topping

  • 4 fresh apricots, or 8 dried apricot halves‡
  • ½ cup sparkling wine, such as Moscato or Prosecco
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: fresh berries in season
  •  
    ______________________
    *See the all of the different types of rice in our Rice Glossary.
    †Puffed quinoa is available at health food stores in the bulk cereals section.
    ‡If using dried apricots, plump them in brandy or Cognac for half an hour before using.

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/carnaroli rice finecooking 230
    Carnaroli rice is a short-grain rice bred in Italy to make superior risotto. Cooks often use the more widely available Arborio rice, but Carnaroli is a smaller grain with an extremely high starch content. These properties enable it to absorb large quantities of liquid without overcooking, engendering an ultra-creamy yet toothsome risotto—or rice pudding! Photo courtesy Fine Cooking.
     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pudding. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, sugar, vanilla seeds and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture returns to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and lightly simmer, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes until the rice begins to thicken. When the rice thickens, taste it for doneness, continuing to stir every few minutes until it is soft and cooked through.

    2. REMOVE the rice mixture from the heat and transfer to a bowl set on top of an ice bath. Stir continuously so that the mixture cools quickly.

    3. CAREFULLY FOLD in the crème fraîche and taste for salt, adding more if necessary. If the pudding seems too thick, thin it with a touch of cream to achieve the desired consistency.

    4. MAKE the toffee. Place a silicone baking mat on a rimmed cookie sheet. In a small saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup and enough water to wet the syrup until the mixture has a sandy texture. Cook until a candy thermometer registers 315° and the mixture is rich amber in color.

     
    5. USE a pastry brush dipped in water to wipe down the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the salt and vanilla extract; stir well. Pour the mixture onto the silicone mat. When cool enough to handle, break up the toffee, then grind it in a food processor until fine.

    6. MAKE the candied quinoa. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a silicone baking mat on a rimmed baking sheet. Evenly spread the puffed quinoa over the mat and sprinkle the ground toffee over it. Place the baking sheet in the oven; after about 5 minutes, stir and bake an additional 5 minutes.

    7. REMOVE from the oven, stir again, and place the quinoa-toffee mixture on a cold surface, such as a counter top or unused baking sheet, to cool. Then break it up it into small clusters. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container until ready to use. Do not refrigerate.

    8. MAKE the fruit topping. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the apricots in half, then cut each half into three slices. Place the apricot pieces in a baking dish along with the wine, sugar, salt and vanilla extract; roast for 5 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan after 5 minutes. The fruit should be soft but not blowing up, so watch it closely. Remove the pan from oven and let cool thoroughly.

    9. ASSEMBLE: Place one cup of the rice pudding in each of 8 glass dessert cups or parfait glasses.
    Top each serving with 4 slices of roasted apricots and drizzle with a little of the syrup they cooked in. Add fresh berries in season if desired. Just before serving, generously sprinkle the candied quinoa on top.

    NOTE: You can prepare the rice pudding and toppings ahead of time, but do not add the candied quinoa topping until just ready to serve or it will become soggy.

    –Rowann Gilman is a recipe developer, cookbook editor and Contributing Editor of THE NIBBLE.

      




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