Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rice Pudding Cake with Warm Apricot Sauce

The Altitude Adjustment Section
This week I have a cool recipe for a rice pudding cake with apricot sauce. It’s from Bistro Cooking at Home, a cookbook I picked up two weeks ago at the new animal shelter thrift store. This cake is not too sweet and not too gummy (which is my complaint about rice pudding) and it’s made with good quality Arborio rice (the stuff you use for Risotto) that makes all the difference in flavor and texture.

Ingredients for Cake
4 1/2 cups whole milk
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Arborio rice
Pinch kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Ingredients for Sauce
3/4 cup chopped small dried apricots
1/3 sup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup Sauterne

Combine the milk and lemon zest into a large saucepan. If using vanilla bean, cut it down the long-ways and scrape the seeds into the milk as well as the pod. If using extract you will add that later. Bring milk just to the boil and whisk in the rice. Reduce heat to low and stir every few minutes till most of the milk is absorbed, 30-40 minutes. At this altitude, if milk evaporates before rice is tender, add more milk. Now stir in the sugar and vanilla extract if using. Let rice mixture cool to room temperature.

Heat oven to 300 degrees. While rice is cooling, butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake round. Line the bottom with a parchment circle and butter. Dust the sides and bottom of pan with graham cracker crumbs and shake out excess. In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and extra 2 yolks. Stir into the cooled rice mixture. Now pour this mixture into your prepared pan. Bake until the center of the cake feels somewhat firm to the touch about 45-50 minutes. Don’t let overcook and puff, as that will adversely affect the texture. Don’t worry about ugly top as that will ultimately be the bottom. Cool the cake at room temperature and then run a knife around the outside to loosen the cake. Invert onto a serving platter and remove the parchment from what is now the top. Dust cake with powdered sugar and serve with warm apricot sauce.

To make apricot sauce: Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil and then pour over chopped apricots in a bowl. Let cool to room temp. In a small saucepan combine sugar and 1/3 cup water and bring to the boil. Drain cooled plump apricots and add to sugar syrup with the lemon juice. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring often until sauce becomes flavorful and syrupy. Remove from heat and add Sauterne.