Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sporadic Rice Pudding

Serves 6

Sporadic rice pudding? Yup. It's from the Sporades.

Alonysoss is an island in the Greek Sporades group (which includes Skiathos and Skopelos, actually, as you ask) which was hit by a massive earthquake in the 1960s. The old town was abandoned for years, but was being slowly repopulated by intrepid Germans when I was there, something like 20 years ago. German tourists are funny, they're like the calm before a touristic tsunami. If you find Germans anywhere, you can guarantee that the rest of the world will discover it five years later.

Anyway, there was a restaurant there run by a Brit and her Greek hubby. I can only remember her as snooty. But she made a fantastic cold rice pudding. And so I showed my gratitude by stealing the recipe.

  • 100g short grain rice
  • 800ml milk
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2" piece cassia or cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
  • 6 tsp strawberry jam

Butter six oven-proof ramekins, and preheat the oven to 300F/150C/Gas2. Cook the rice, milk and cassia together in a pan over a low heat, simmering for 10 minutes until the rice is almost tender. Add the sugar and butter and stir them in. Remove the piece of cassia. Cool the mixture a little and then stir in the beaten eggs and lemon rind. Cook the mixture, stirring it to stop it sticking and making sure it doesn' boil, for a few minutes more until it begins to thicken.

Pour the mixture into the ramekins, adding a sprinkling of cinammon on top, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes. If you have a ‘gulf oven’ that tends to burn the bottom of all it surveys, then place the ramekins in a bain marie, a baking dish with an inch of water in it, before placing them in the oven. You’ll have to increase the cooking time to perhaps 40 minutes if you do this. Cool the ramekins, then chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve the ramekins of rice pudding with a dab of strawberry jam on top.

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