Caramel Rice

Serves 8, Total time 1.5 hours plus chilling
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Every now and again it's worth getting a little bit la-di-da in our creations, and this forms part of a personal passion for rice pudding, a composed affair turned out like a crème caramel that will serve you proud whenever you feel the need for something orderly in your life.

125g caster sugar
2 tbsp dark or light rum, or water
200g arborio risotto rice
1.2 litres whole milk
150g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
2 vanilla pods, slit
6 medium egg yolks
300ml double cream

Heat the oven to 160C fan oven/170C or 325F electric oven/Gas 3. Gently heat the sugar for the caramel in a small saucepan until it starts to liquefy. Swill to keep it moving as it turns to a clear syrup and colours. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until a deep gold. Remove the pan from the heat and add the rum or water, which will sizzle ferociously. Return the pan to the heat, and stir until the caramel is smooth and melted. Pour this into the base of a 20cm/8in soufflé dish and tilt to evenly coat the surface. The caramel should set hard within a matter of minutes.

Place the rice in a medium-size saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and then drain into a sieve. Return the rice to the pan with the milk, half the sugar, the butter and vanilla pods, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until tender. Remove the vanilla pods, open them and scrape out the seeds using a knife. Stir these back into the rice.

Whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar in a bowl until pale. Bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan and whisk on to the egg and sugar mixture. Pass this through a sieve into the pan containing the rice. Place the soufflé mould in a deep roasting tray and pour the rice and custard over the caramel. Fill the roasting tray with hot but not boiling water, and place in the oven for one hour until the custard is set and the top appears golden.

Remove the soufflé dish from the oven, leave it to cool, then cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill for several hours. Bring it back up to room temperature for one hour before eating. Dip the mould into boiling water for a minute or two. Run a knife around the edge of the mould to loosen the rice, place a plate on top and invert it. The pudding should slip out with ease. If it appears stubborn then repeat the process. Serve in slices.