People who enjoy cooking often ask me, “Do you make everything from scratch the old-fashioned method?”
Like the question, my answer is divided into two parts. I tell people, “Yes, I do everything from scratch, whenever I can – within reason.” Spago bakes its own bread every day and makes mayonnaise using egg yolks, oil and stock. To ensure the highest quality, I prepare my mayonnaise myself and keep homemade stock in the fridge. We usually buy bread from a bakery instead of baking it.
We can do it.
My second answer may not be what you expect. The old-fashioned method isn’t always best. Take stock. Modern pressure cookers are the best for making stock, according to many chefs. The pressure cookers reduce cooking time dramatically while retaining maximum flavor. The pressure also prevents bones from releasing any impurities, which can cloud the stock. The end result is delicious and clear.
I’m not against using modern, smart appliances to get great results. Immersion blenders have been used to make mayonnaise within seconds. As many of you know, I am devoted to my electric countertop panini maker.
The countertop electric rice cook is another example of an appliance I enjoy. You can add the right amount of liquid and grain, plug in the appliance, close its lid and press a button to get perfect rice every time.
I like to use my rice cooker for more than just a simple side dish. In the past I shared with you a simple recipe for delicious macaroni cheese made in a rice cooker. I would like to share my recipe today for my grandmother’s delicious custardy, rice pudding. It’s made in a rice-cooker and layered with fresh fruit.
You can use any short or
medium-grained varieties. Add other spices, such as cinnamon or ginger, to the mix.
As the mixture thickens, be on the lookout for any curdling or lumps. The mixture can be saved by whisking the yolk mixture quickly until it is smooth.
This recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and it produces outstanding results. It’s hard to beat making a delicious dessert using an old-fashioned method and a modern appliance.
Rice Pudding Parfaits With Fresh Fruiture
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 cup of cold water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 cups milk
Citrus zest from 1 orange
Vanilla bean split in half lengthways, seeds removed and reserved
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Grand Marnier, 1/4 cup
4 large cage-free egg yolks
Fresh organic blueberries, strawberries and raspberries – 1 cup each
Rinse the rice thoroughly with cold water. Drain well. Pour 1 cup of cold water in an automatic rice cooker. Close the rice cooker after adding the salt. Set the rice cooker to “Cook” and plug it in. (The “Keep Warm’ light will come on after 15 minutes but the cooker must be closed for another 20.
In a medium saucepan combine the orange zest, vanilla beans and seeds, Grand
Marnier. Stir occasionally as you bring to a simmer on medium heat. Cover with plastic wrap and let steep for 15 mins. Remove from heat.
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until they are smooth. Pour 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into a medium mixing bowl while whisking continuously. Continue whisking until the mixture is thoroughly blended. Pour the egg-and-milk mixture slowly into the pan of hot milk while whisking continuously.
Hold the wire-mesh strainer above the rice in the cooker. Pour the milk and egg mixture from the pan into the strainer; discard the vanilla beans. Stir the liquid with the rice using a flexible rubber spatula.
Stir constantly with a spatula, leaving the lid off, until the mixture starts to thicken and steam. Be careful that the mixture doesn’t boil.
Continue stirring on the lower heat about 2 minutes more after the thickening has begun. Close the lid of the rice cooker and let the mixture sit for 8 more minutes. Open the cooker half way through to stir the mixture thoroughly, but briefly. Fill a large bowl up with ice and water and place a medium-sized bowl on top.
Remove the pot from the rice cooker. Pour the rice pudding into the bowl in the ice water bath. If you notice any curdling in the mixture, whisk it briefly until smooth. Let the pudding cool in the ice water bath.
Pour assembling parfaits, use six tumblers or large wine glasses. Spread the pudding evenly in the bottom of each glass. Divide the cooked pudding into one-third. Divide the blueberries evenly between the 6 glasses and top the rice. Add another layer, about half the remaining pudding. Top it off with all of the strawberries. Add the remaining pudding and then arrange the raspberries over the top.
Refrigerate the glasses for several hours, until they are thoroughly chilled. Serve the glasses cold.