Rice Pudding Brulee
Valeria and Monica Lagos of Artisan Bistro serve their succulent rice pudding in Spanish crema catalana dishes. (They both say that maple sugar is absolutely sinful in this dish.) You will need a kitchen torch to make the brûlée.
3 c. whole milk
1/2 c. arborio rice
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped, with seeds
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. coarse salt
2 large egg yolks
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/4 c. turbinado or other raw sugar
(available in most grocery stores)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the milk, rice and vanilla bean and seeds into a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook it, stirring occasionally, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Discard the vanilla bean.
Whisk the cream, sugar, salt, yolks and cinnamon in a bowl, then pour it into the cooked rice, stirring constantly. Return the mixture to the heat and bring it to a simmer. Divide the pudding among four 6-ounce ramekins set in a roasting pan; add boiling water to the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the puddings are almost set, about 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle the tops with raw sugar, dividing evenly. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar until golden brown. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.