I spent Fall semester of my junior year at St. Andrew's University in Scotland. I know that sounds all romantic and adventurous, and while I loved my time there, every experience like that has it's down side. Scotland's downside: freakin' cold and wet. I was there from October through December, and I don't think I could feel my fingers and toes the entire time. I remember being grateful for the first few weeks every time I'd go outside and see that the ground was wet, but it wasn't raining. And then I realized the ground wasn't wet because it had just rained, it was just that humid. I remember sitting through countless lectures soaked through because no amount of rain gear can protect you from the wind and rain. BUT, I traveled a ton, met fabulous people who I'm still friends with (thank you, facebook!), and had some amazing desserts (not meal food, I don't care what shape the potato is on your plate, it's still potatoes every single meal!).
One of those fabulous desserts that I got hooked on was rice pudding. I lived on rice pudding from a tin and lime crisps finals week. So this time of year when it's cold and wet and dreary I'm always drawn to the warm creamy comfort of rice pudding. (The lime chips they sell here in the US just aren't as good as the UK's.) I was also feeling the need for some light refreshing fruit (Christmas gets all the heavy desserts). And I also wanted caramel, but my family insisted that I not do caramel with the fruit, so that necessitated two kinds of parfait. Even though I meant to avoid a heavy dessert, chocolate Bavarian cream was the obvious pairing for caramel, and the fruit component is boysenberry mousse because boysenberries are on sale at the local market. Though this "little" project took all evening, it was totally worth it. Yum!
3 c whole milk
1/2 c arborio rice
pinch Fleur de Sel (or red sea salt in my case b/c I can't find Fleur de Sel)
1/3 c sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer for up to an hour until the rice is soft and the milk has cooked down.
Chocolate Bavarian Cream
from Cannelle et Vanille
60 grams half and half
5 grams sugar
1 egg yolk
2 grams gelatin softened over 1/2 T cold water
125 grams milk chocolate, finely chopped
100 grams heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
In a small saucepan, bring the half and half to a boil. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Temper the hot half and half into the egg yolks and whisk. Pour this mixture back in the pan and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the softened gelatin.
Strain the custard over the milk chocolate that we have finely chopped into a clean bowl. Let the custard melt the chocolate for a minute and then gently whisk until a cream is formed and all the chocolate has melted. When the chocolate mixture has cooled to the touch, fold in the whipped cream.
(adapted from The Food Network)
- 30 g egg whites
- 50 g sugar
- 16 g water
- 1 c pureed bosenberries
- 40 g egg yolks (about 2 egg yolks)
- 10 g sugar
- 3/4 teaspoons gelatin sprinkled over 1 Tbl cold water
- 100 g heavy cream, whipped
Salted Caramel Cream
from Cannelle et Vanille
180 grams heavy cream
1/2 t vanilla
45 grams sugar
60 grams egg yolks
3/4 t gelatin softened over 1 T cold water
pinch fleur de sel
Bring the cream and the vanilla to a boil. Reserve.
In the meantime, make a dry caramel with the sugar. Deglaze the cooked sugar with the heated cream. Be careful because it will bubble over if all the cream is added at once. Whisk so all crystalized sugar has dissolved. Pour this caramel over the egg yolks and whisk. Return this to the pan and cook for 1 minute.
Add the softened gelatin and strain through a fine sieve.