Come on, now. You know I would only post a disaster with promise. This one starts with meyer lemons and ends in a sweet pudding, which would have been intriguing if only I could cook rice.
It all began with a mysterious package that arrived on Saturday. No note — just a meyer lemon, a massive shallot, and a bag full of jerusalem artichokes. The leaf on the meyer lemon told me that this was FRESH, most likely from some warmer, more pleasant coast, and therefore might have something to do with my friend P’s attempt to coax me back to CA. (Well, that and she told me the package was coming, but that wouldn’t make the story nearly as exciting, right?)
Anyway, I knew I had to do something special with the gift. Just the night before, I was reading The Spiteful Chef, and came across a post where she recommends adding condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla to some parboiled rice for a quick rice pudding. I LOVE condensed milk, in a ridiculous, irrational, will eat an entire can if I’m left to my own devices kind of way. And I happened to have one on hand, along with some arborio rice, this meyer lemon, some raisins, and homemade vanilla extract. With tea in place of stock, and the condensed milk to make things creamy and delicious, I figured it’d be the best way to stretch the meyer lemon out just a little bit. After all, I could use the zest in the rice pudding and save the juice for something else.
And so I did. Here’s the final result:
You know what? It was tasty. The cream Earl Gray (Earl Gray with less bergamot and more vanilla) complemented the fragrant scent of the Meyer lemon, and the condensed milk made the lemon peel and raisins taste like candied goodness was sprinkled through each bite. Unfortunately, it was also a little crunchy. Yup, that’s right — I undercooked the rice, thinking that cooking in the condensed milk would help soften things. Boy, was I wrong. So file this under work in progress. I’ll post the recipe as I think it should be, with a note where I modified things. I’ll try this one again and update a final version when I get a chance. In the meantime, thanks for making winter a little nicer, P!
Recipe after the jump.
Meyer lemon rice pudding with black tea and raisins
I increased the amount of tea in this recipe, and decreased the amount of condensed milk, as I think my version was a bit sweet. Not that I complain about such things. This will not use up a whole can of condensed milk, but I suggest you save the rest and put it in coffee, because it is the BEST sweetener + creamer ever. That’s my plan for the leftover deliciousness, anyway.
Cost: Priceless, if your friend sends you a perfect Meyer lemon in the mail. Realistically, though, this is a fairly cheap dessert. The Meyer lemon is the most expensive part, at least around here, and a little goes a long way.
Difficulty: Easy, if you’re not having a bad cooking day like I am.
Serves: 4 (small servings — this is rich stuff)
- 1 T. butter
- 1 c. arborio rice. This is not necessary — I think you can use any rice, though your cooking time and rice to liquid ratio will vary (according to packet directions, conveniently). I used arborio rice because that’s all we had in the house, and it does make things nice and creamy.
- 2-1/2 c. steeped cream Earl Gray or a plain black tea like Darjeeling. Cream Earl Gray is something I’ve only seen in a British Shop near here that no longer exists, but it’s basically Earl Gray with less Bergamot flavor and more vanilla. You can simply add extra vanilla extract to achieve the same effect.
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- Zest from 1 meyer lemon, in strips. Use a U-shaped peeler or paring knife to peel off the zest. Don’t take too much of the white pith, or your rice pudding will be a bit bitter.
- 1/2 c. sultanas (aka golden raisins)
- 1 t. vanilla extract (or 2 t., if you use plain black tea).
- 6 oz. sweetened condensed milk (or to taste — you can adjust the richness and sweetness by varying the amount of this ingredient). I used the Trader Joe’s organic version, and oh, it was good.
In a medium pot, over medium low heat, melt the butter. Add the rice and salt, and stir until the grains of rice are coated in butter. Pour in 1/2 c. of the tea, and stir until the rice absorbs all the tea. Repeat until all but 1/2 c. of the tea is left.
Add the cinnamon, meyer lemon, raisins, and vanilla extract at this point. Add the rest of the tea. Stir until the liquid is completely absorbed. At this point, check the rice. If it’s not soft, add a bit more liquid — hot water or regular water are fine — and cook a bit more. When the rice is soft, add the condensed milk. Stir, and let simmer for five minutes or so, until all the flavors combine. Serve warm.