Rice pudding is certainly one of the most old-fashioned desserts there is. And even if it seems simple to make, there are actually a small number of rules to making the perfect rice pudding.
Gaetan Gentil, chef of Michelin-star restaurant PRaiRiaL in Lyon, is a big fan of this dessert, of which he reveals his secrets below.
Choosing the right ingredients
As for the ingredients for a rice pudding, Gaetan Gentil recommends: "whole milk, even good quality raw milk, but also short-grain rice for desserts for perfect cooking". Then, a simple traditional white sugar will do the trick, "but you can also choose brown sugar," according to taste, he says.
Pre-Cook the Rice
The secret to a perfect rice pudding is pre-cooking the rice according to Gentil. "I always boil it for about 30 seconds before cooking it in the milk. This breaks down the starch in the rice which will then absorb the fat from the milk more easily and make the rice more creamy," the star chef assures us.
When it comes to cooking, rice pudding should not boil. On the contrary, it should be cooked over a "low heat, just to a simmer. It must be strong enough for the starch to break down but not so high that the rice sticks to the bottom of the pan," he warns.
Gentil also recommends stirring the mixture regularly, every 3 to 4 minutes, for a smooth texture.
Rice Pudding Variations
Classic rice pudding consists of rice, milk and sugar. But for a richer version, Gentil suggests preparing a salted butter caramel next to it, or cooking the rice with condensed milk, for example.
Rice Pudding by Gaetan Gentil
Here is PRaiRiaL chef Gaetan Gentil's perfect rice pudding recipe:
Put the rice in a saucepan and pour over water until 2 cm above the volume of rice. Bring to a boil for 30 seconds to break down the starch in the rice grains. Heat the milk with salt, vanilla and half the sugar. When boiling, pour in the rice and the rest of the sugar and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and allow to cool, then gently add the cream before serving.
How to make the salted butter caramel:
Heat the sugar with 20 g of water until a nice blonde colour. Gradually add the butter and cream, stirring briskly with a whisk to avoid lumps. When the mixture is homogeneous, continue cooking for 5 minutes and remove from the heat and put into small pots. Store in the refrigerator.
How to make the muscovado tiles:
Mix all the ingredients and leave in the fridge for 2 hours. Using a chablon 25 cm by 5 cm wide and 1 mm thick, spread the appliance on baking paper using a small spatula tile and bake at 160oC for 7 minutes. When out of the oven, roll immediately around a circle of 80 mm diameter. Set aside to allow set.
Arrange the rice in a circle of muscovado tiles, heat the caramel and arrange harmoniously, according to your desires.
Chef tip: You can replace vanilla with 6 g of meadow queen previously infused in hot milk for 7 minutes.
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