Friday, March 28, 2008

Gâteau de Riz

Today I'm thinking about the romance of rice. So many cuisines in every corner of the globe have rice as a key element of their daily diet. It has a central place on tables throughout Asia, Africa, North America, Latin America and Europe. And since there are so many different types of rice and ways to prepare each type, it never loses its allure.

Since rice forms such a nice canvas for so many additional flavors, it’s easy to imagine many different and delicious versions of a simple rice pudding. Escoffier made rice pudding fancy by adding gelatin, folding in whipped cream and glacéed fruit and molding it into a dessert called Riz a L'Impératrice.

Gâteau de Riz is another French style of rice pudding that is poured into a caramel lined dish or pan and baked. If you enjoy rice and you like crème brulee, I think you’ll also savor Gâteau de Riz. It’s creamy, a bit rich and the citrus strikes just the right note. The French do have their ways.

- Be super-super careful when swirling the caramel in your dish or pan. The caramel is going to be very hot and will make the pan hot as well very quickly. Use an oven mitt if you have one. This will also help avoid accidentally spilling any on your hands. Caramel burns are very painful so exercise an abundance of caution.
- The darker the caramel the less sweet it will taste. You can smell when it’s ready and just about to smoke. Don’t forget it continues to cook and darken very rapidly even after you take it off the heat, so you want to catch it right before it looks perfect.
- I baked mine in a 9" cake pan, but this dessert can be a bit tricky to unmold, so you can use a casserole dish and simply spoon it out if you don't want to risk it.
- Some versions of this dessert add raisins soaked in rum. If you have a vanilla bean, you can use half of the bean in place of the extract for a stronger vanilla flavor. There are many possible variations. I prefer this simple version, but let your imagination run if you’re in the mood to experiment. Also, you can certainly try this with Arborio rice or other favorites.
- Any remaining portion of the Gâteau will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Gâteau de Riz
serves 10 to 12

2/3 C rice
1/2 C sugar
1/4 t salt
3 1/2 C milk
1 C heavy cream
zest of 1/2 orange
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 eggs
1/2 t vanilla

3/4 C sugar
3 T water

Caramelize 3/4 C of sugar with the 3 T of water until deep caramel in color. Remove from the heat and pour into the bottom of a 9” cake pan, 1 1/2-quart terrine, casserole, or Pyrex baking dish. Swirl very carefully and gently to coat half-way up the sides.

Bring the milk, cream, sugar and salt to a slight boil. Add the rice and citrus zest. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 45 minutes.

Preheat oven at 425 degrees.

Whisk the eggs together. After rice has simmered, take off the heat and whisk eggs into the rice. Add vanilla extract.

Pour the rice pudding into the caramel dish, place it in the center of the oven and bake until the caramel begins to bubble up the sides, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Cool and serve. Luxuriate in the romance of rice.


Aran said...

Another recipe close to my heart. Although not exactly the same, my family makes a rice pudding tart similar to this. It's a puff pastry tartlett filled with a rice custard baked golden brown. The top turns caramel like and it's delicious. Gorgeous work once again!

shuna fish lydon said...

O. I have such a thing for rice in desserts. and the options of rice these days!

I used to have to line dozens of molds with caramel and the oven mitt is a great idea and so are gardening gloves because these ofthen will have little rubber traction dots which make it harder for the hot vessel to slip from one's hands.

Kevin said...

This rice dessert looks really interesting!

Tiffany said...

This is beautiful. I cannot wait to try this...rice has become my new favorite grain since becoming Gluten Free. You have saved the day!

Simply...Gluten-free said...

This is beautiful and as I am gluten free I can give it a try. Can't wait. Lovely blog!

SweetestChef said...

Very nice! I love it. Does it have an eggy taste? That's the only thing I am worried about!

pastry studio said...

I personally don't think it has an eggy taste. The 2 eggs bind the pudding but still produce a creamy texture without overwhelming the flavor. Hope this helps!

Lena said...

Is there the right way to add eggs to the hot cooked rice pudding so as to prevent them from curdling? Would I need to let the rice cool a little beforehand?
Also, did you have any problem inverting the gateau once it cooled as far as caramel layer and rice sticking to the pan? thanks.

pastry studio said...

Hi Lena. Be sure to whisk the eggs before adding them. They shouldn't curdle if you whisk constantly and quickly as you add them to the rice mixture. You can also temper the eggs by adding a couple of spoons of the rice mixture to them first if you're worried about them curdling.

As I mention in the bench notes, this Gateau can be tricky to unmold. You need to try to unmold it when the caramel is still warm enough and liquid but not too hot that you might burn yourself. Take the precaution of wearing oven mitts as you place the serving platter over the pan and invert. If you have a few stuck bits, just take a little spatula or fork, coax them out and patch them. If you're worried about presentation, you can cover up any noticeable breakage with dollops or piping of soft whipped cream. This Gateau is so delicious, I doubt anyone will notice!

Anonymous said...

Besides Arborio, what rice is intended for the recipe?

Have you ever tried to make this in ramekins?

pastry studio said...

Rice puddings can be may with your favorite rice or combination of rice varieties, depending on the desired texture and taste. Cooking time on the stove top may vary.

I haven't made this in ramekins but that would be a beautiful presentation. I'm going to revise my recommendation to unmold while the caramel is still warm and suggest an overnight refrigeration. The caramel will have a chance to liquefy and it will make unmolding much easier. You may want the gateaux to come to room temperature before serving.