Spanish Rice Pudding & Brandied Cumquats
Many years ago a well-meaning neighbour fed me English-style rice pudding as a small child fresh out of Japan and it traumatised me immeasurably. I’d only known rice to be a comforting, nourishing staple so being given a serve of mushy, sweet, milky lumps was just an assault on my young, unsuspecting senses. I do however love Spanish style rice pudding which thanks to cinnamon and vanilla makes me forget that I’m eating sweetened rice!
500g whole milk (If you are diet conscious, you can use half or all hi-lo)
250g whipping cream
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean
200g Bomba or other Paella rice (you can use medium grain rice or risotto rice in a pinch)
60g granulated sugar (I used rapadura for a richer flavour)
1 tbsp butter
Enough sugar to brûlée the top
1 cup of cumquats, washed, slit and deseeded (use a chopstick to poke out seed through the slit)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup of brandy
1. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, combine the milk with cinnamon stick and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the rice and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard cinnamon stick. Continue to cook the rice, stirring often, until it is just tender, about 50 minutes. Add the cream and simmer, stirring often, until the rice is very tender and the pudding is creamy, about 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the granulated sugar and simmer over moderate heat until dissolved, about 2 minutes. Spoon the pudding into six 1-cup ramekins or similar baking dish and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
3. Using a coarse sieve, sift 1 tablespoon of sugar over each pudding and use kitchen blow torch to brulee the sugar, or place under hot grill until same effect is achieved.
Blanch prepared cumquats at least twice to remove bitterness and put aside. Lightly caramelise the sugar by heating on medium heat in saucepan. Once browned, add water carefully and dissolve the caramel into water over low heat. Bring to boil until syrupy. Add brandy carefully and stir. Add cumquats into mixture and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool then transfer to storage container. Cumquats should be fine for two weeks in syrup. Probably longer!