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Cook the Book: Jasmine Rice Pudding

"Karen DeMasco has come up with a rice pudding that surpasses the cafeteria tray by leaps and bounds."

Rice pudding is mostly served in places where dessert is more of an afterthought than the main event. It's the go-to dessert of cafeterias and diners, a mandatory sweet that can easily be made by those who aren't blessed with baking expertise. Most of the time, even when rice pudding is good, it isn't really all that great.

Thinking about rice pudding analytically, there's really no reason why it shouldn't be a great dessert. It's basically rice broken down to the point of creaminess, enriched with cream and spiked with cinnamon. Using these simple ingredients plus a little culinary know-how, pastry mastermind Karen DeMasco has come up with a rice pudding that surpasses the cafeteria tray by leaps and bounds.

Jasmine Rice Pudding from The Craft of Baking employs three elements to make this humble pudding into something special. First off, run-of-the-mill short grain rice is replaced with jasmine rice, a long grain Thai variety with a distinctly nutty aroma.

Secondly, DeMasco slowly adds liquid to the rice as if she's adding stock to a risotto, ensuring that the rice is the creamiest. Lastly, she adds crème fraîche, which imparts a slight tang, reminiscent of sour cream but much more buttery. All of these innovations make for a grown up rice pudding that would have your lunch lady scratching her head through her hair net, but that's probably a good thing.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Craft of Baking to give away this week.

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