Nectar Rice Pudding

Nectar Rice Pudding

I received an email from a friend this week, being very complimentary about this rice pudding recipe I’d given her. She wrote “This is so yummy on a chilly winter day in Melbourne!” I made a mental note to put it on the blog in the autumn, but then I got up this morning and looked out the window at the clouds and the cold and the rain and decided that you all needed this recipe today.

Adapted from May Byron’s wartime Pudding Book (1917) it is an absolute delight in a number of ways. It’s a variation of the traditional, some would say nursery, pudding, but these variations elevate it much higher than its list of ingredients might at first imply. For a start, the method is markedly different from the traditional, first boiling the rice in water  followed by a slow simmer on the stove top, then just a brief 20 minutes in the oven. Cooking time is practically halved, compared to the traditional method requiring 2 hours baking and the result is astonishingly soft and creamy. The best part of this recipe, however, is the flavourings. Against just a suspicion of vanilla, the mandarin peel imparts a light and fragrant note, which is in turn enhanced by the aromatic honey and flakes of coconut. The whole dish is lifted out of the nursery and into something altogether more elegant and refined, whilst still retaining it’s simplicity.

Very definitely a grown-up treat for a gloomy, rainy Sunday in June.

Nectar Rice Pudding

120g pudding rice
580ml whole milk
75g granulated sugar
1 large or 2 medium mandarin oranges
½ tsp vanilla extract
280ml double cream
4 large yolks
70ml aromatic honey – acacia, orange blossom, heather, etc
2tbs unsweetened dessicated coconut

  • Bring some water to the boil and add the rice.
  • Cook for five minutes, then drain well in a sieve.
  • Put the rice, milk, and sugar in a thick-bottomed, lidded pan.
  • Peel the mandarins.
  • Eat the mandarins.
  • Put the peel into the pan with the rice.
  • Add the vanilla.
  • Cover the pan and put over the lowest heat available.
  • Simmer softly for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  • Mix the cream, yolks and honey together.
  • Preheat the oven to 140°C/120°C Fan.
  • After the 40 minutes is up, remove the mandarin peel and discard.
  • Pour in the cream and honey mixture. Stir briskly whilst pouring to ensure the eggs don’t cook immediately and curdle.
  • Stir the mixture over the heat until the mixture almost simmers, then pour into a deep oven-proof bowl. To achieve the perfect consistency after baking, the mixture should be about 5cm deep in the dish.
  • Sprinkle the coconut over the surface.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until just wobbling in the middle, and golden brown and bubbling on top.
  • Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  • Serve warm.
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