Silky Saffron Rice Pudding
This recipe is featured in Flavor Flours
Excerpted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014.
Saffron makes an otherwise cozy pudding exotic and beautiful to look at, especially when garnished with Cardamom Brittle or with chopped pistachios and a little grated cinnamon stick. Vanilla works for everyone: serve it to the family with a favorite peanut butter or chocolate cookie or just top it with a spoonful of fruit preserves; dress it up for company with Oat and Almond Tuiles, Almond Tuiles, or Crispy Coconut Wafers. For the most luxurious texture, make these puddings a day ahead. This is one of the few recipes that requires superfine or Thai rice flour; get it from either an Asian grocery store or Authentic Foods.
- Servings Serves 8
- 30 saffron threads or 1⁄16 teaspoon finely chopped or crushed saffron
- ⅔ cup (130 grams) sugar
- ¼ cup (40 grams) superfine white rice flour or ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon (40 grams) Thai white rice flour
- Scant ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups (946 ml) half-and-half or 3½ cups (828 ml) whole milk plus ½ cup (118 ml) heavy cream
Eight 6-ounce (177 ml) custard cups or ramekins
1. Use your fingers to pinch the saffron with some of the sugar to make the particles smaller, or use a mortar and pestle. Whisk the sugar, saffron, rice flour, and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Add about ¼ cup of the half-and-half and whisk to form a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining half-and-half. Using a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until it is very hot to the touch. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes. Reheat the mixture, scraping the bottom, sides, and corners of the pan, until the pudding thickens and begins to bubble. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle boil. Continue cooking and stirring for 4 more minutes to fully cook the rice flour.
2. Take the pan off the heat and immediately pour the pudding into the cups. Let the pudding cool at room temperature for 1 hour, undisturbed (without mixing, jiggling, or spooning out a taste). Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours or (better yet) for 24 hours before serving.