Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Jer: Rice Pudding

Argentines like their rice pudding with alot of milk. So much that I wondered if this recipe that I had found on Epicurious.com came from South America because it sure did have a high milk to rice ratio. In Argentina, they even forsake the "pudding" and call it "rice with milk"(or arroz con leche).

I really liked how the egg thickened and flavored the pudding (and like Elaine, I used a tad less sugar than the recipe called for). I asked most people I know in Buenos Aires if they ate a lot of arroz con leche. The response was pretty consistent -- it is the dessert of their childhoods. Our neighbors, in particular, remember having it pretty regularly after school as their grandmothers would often make it in large batches. Like our rice pudding, rice with milk is very much a comfort food. Not surprising, in a land where cows are so plentiful and all of the foods that come from these glorious bovine are so delicious.

The most common cookie in Argentina as well as in Uruguay (which is also a very big dairy country) also has a milk theme. Alfajores are made by taking two pieces of shortbread and sandwiching it with some dulce de leche and then rolling the edges in some finely ground coconut. They are truly sublime, especially when eaten fresh and when made with really good dulce.

We're headed back to South America tomorrow. After a few days seeing friends in Buenos Aires we'll head further south and spend some time in the Argentine and Chilean Lake Districts where the specialty foods of the region include Patagonian lamb and chocolate. I can hardly wait.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Elaine: Rice Pudding

So I used Aborio rice instead of long grain because thats all I had in my pantry. Instead of using all cinnamon, I used 3/4 t. powdered cardamom and 1/4 t. cinnamon. I'd definitely use a lot less sugar, like a 1/2 cup in the beginning and add more later if you want it sweeter. Lucky for me, I have a husband that loves things extremely sweet. How do you make rice pudding look pretty besides a sprinkle of cinnamon? I've never been good at presentation.
Overall though, I loved the cardamom in it. To cut the sweetness, I chose a ripe ripe juicy pear which really balanced it out for me. I probably should have poached it but a naked pear is just as good. The truth is...I was too lazy. That rhubarb compote would be perfect with this rice pudding, don't you think? Jer, hope you are having fun in Argentina!
I actually did a little entertaining myself this weekend and thought I'd share this adorable freckled angel food. I made one with the chocolate glaze and one without with this one recipe in two 7 inch tube pan. I preferred the unglazed. Fresh raspberries were super yummy with both versions.

Here's Ina Garten's Black and White Angel Food Cake:
2 cups sifted superfine sugar (about 1 pound)
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups egg whites at room temperature (10 to 12 eggs)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely grated semisweet chocolate

For the glaze:
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the flour and sift them together 4 times. Set aside.
Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the eggs form medium-firm peaks, about 1 minute. With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar by sprinkling it over the beaten egg whites. Beat on high speed for a few minutes until thick and shiny. Add the vanilla and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 more minute. Scrape the beaten egg whites into a large bowl. Sift 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it very carefully into the batter with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour in 3 equal additions, sifting and folding until it's all incorporated. Fold in the grated chocolate.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth the top, and bake it for 35 to 45 minutes, until it springs back to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan on a cooling rack. When cool, run a thin, flexible knife around the cake to remove it from the pan.

For the chocolate glaze, place the chocolate chips and the heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate melts. Pour the chocolate over the top of the cooled cake to cover the top completely and allow it to drizzle down the sides. If you have chocolate glaze left over, you can serve it on the side with the cake.