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Rice Pudding FAIL

After dinner I felt inspired to make some dessert.  I was going to make yummy postre boracho (white cake soaked in vodka) until I discovered that the butter was frozen.  By the time it defrosted and the cake baked and cooled it was going to be pretty late.  I opted for rice pudding instead.  I went for the recipe we’ve used in the past with mixed success.  Tonight was a definite fail!  Check out the recipe, then I’ll tell you why it probably failed and what I did instead.

Recipe FAIL

Source: Greek Cookery: 300 Traditional Recipes

1/2 cup sugar
Cinnamon
Vanilla
4 tablespoons short-grain rice
4 cups hot milk
1 heaping tablespoon corn starch

Put the rice on to boil in 3/4 cup of water.  Add 2 1/2 cups milk and continue to boil over low heat for approximately half an hour.  Add the corn starch dissolved in the rest of the milk, along with the vanilla and the sugar.  Simmer the rice pudding until it has thickened.  Serve hot or cold, with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

So, why the failure?  First of all, the ratios don’t make sense.  4 tbs. of rice to almost 5 cups of liquid?  That’s not nearly enough rice for the amount of liquid.  The Gourmet Cookbook, for example, calls for 1 cup of rice for a similar amount of liquid.  Adding the corn starch to hot milk as the recipe seems to suggest also doesn’t make much sense.  Corn starch must be dissolved in cold liquid.  I actually did dissolve it in the cold milk, but then heated the milk in the microwave before adding it to the rice concoction to avoid cooling the rice mixture down too much.  The corn starch did something I’ve never seen.  It fell out of solution and became one big mass in the bottom of container.  I mashed up and stirred it back in as best I could then added it to the rice.  It was quickly apparent that it wasn’t going to thicken so I dissolved some more corn starch in cold milk and added it directly to the mixture on the stove.  It started to show some signs of thickening, but not nearly enough.  Definitely a fail!

So, now I had this slightly thick sweetened milk with a little rice floating in it on the stove.  I still wanted something sweet so I ladled the mixture (leaving behind most of the rice) into mugs, poured in some yummy vanilla rum, sprinkled a little cinnamon on top and voila –  a tasty, sweet nightcap!  I’ll let the rest of the mixture cool and see whether it turns any more pudding-like when cold.

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