I’m still working hard over here cooking up something super special that I’ll be revealing to you *hopefully* before the holidays. So, in the meantime, I’ve lined up a few amazing guest bloggers to share their creations with you. Today is the wonderful Sheila from Love & Wild Honey. Sheila has a lovely recipe to share with you today, filled with beautiful musings on orange blossom and the flavors of Persia. Enjoy! xo, Becca
Get ready to travel to far off places with this deceivingly frugal and accessible dish. Historically, rice pudding was an economical way to indulge in a sweet dish with rice being readily available in many cultures. Thankfully, this still remains true today.
There are many adornments that rice pudding may wear. My favorite by far includes the flavors of old Persia. Cardamom, raisins, saffron and a variety of nuts often grace kheer, the Southwest Asian version of this dish. Liquids like coconut milk and sugars like jaggery often add complexity in the region of Southern India and apricots and figs may be found in this dessert a hop, skip and a jump to the east. Overall, the flavors are unique and diverse but complement each other beautifully quite like the region itself.
The heady scent of orange blossom (also known as neroli in its oil form) was my initial inspiration for my Persian inspired version. Nothing is as intoxicating as the scent of the water of the bitter orange. I love to splash this musky honeyed scent on my wrists and let it linger in my hair. In this dish, it gives the rice pudding a slightly mysterious note that floats among the grounding scents of vanilla and of cardamom. This dessert gets its complexity from its slow, slow cooking with layers of flavor stirred in along the way.
Comforting, silky, and sweet, rice pudding is a beautiful way to end a fall day. Add a cup of chamomile tea and let your mind wander...
Vanilla Orange Blossom Rice Pudding
Serves 4. Recipe inspired by Mark Bittman
- 1/2 cup organic white jasmine rice
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 3/4 a vanilla bean, split and seeded
- 1 Tbsp orange blossom water
Heat your oven to 300°. Pour milk, rice, sugar and orange zest in an oven proof pan with a lid such as a dutch oven. Stir and cover, placing in oven. Check and stir every 30 minutes. After the first 30 minutes, add the vanilla seeds and stir. At the hour thirty mark add the orange blossom water. At each stage the rice pudding will begin to thicken slightly. Take out after about 1 hour 45 min and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Rice pudding should firm up nicely.
Honey Cardamom Syrup
Bring ingredients to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 4 minutes, lifting up saucepan and swirling syrup over the heat source keeping it simmering but keeping it from boiling or burning. Let the flavors infuse while the rice pudding cooks for an hour and thirty minutes. When rice pudding is almost done, strain out the cardamom pods and seeds. Reheat slightly until a bit more fluid. Pour over pudding.
Enjoy! Love, Sheila
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