This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Isabelle of Les gourmandises d’Isa: Arborio Rice Pudding. I've never had rice pudding before, and was curious to see how one made with arborio rice would taste. Arborio rice is an Italian medium-grain rice most commonly used to make risotti due to its high starch content.
I didn't have any whole milk on hand, so I had to use skim milk and half & half instead. I wasn't sure how to make this substitution, so I did a little research and found this information from the USDA on the Cook's Illustrated Bulletin Board:
Skim milk has no fat.
1% milk has 2.5 grams of fat per cup
2% milk had 5 grams of fat per cup
Whole Milk [3.2%] has 8 grams of fat per cup.
Half & Half has 28 grams of fat per cup or 1.75 grams per tablespoon
Whipping Cream has 88 grams of fat per cup or 5.5 grams per tablespoon
To make whole milk out of skim milk and Half & Half: Use 2 ounces of half and half and six ounces of skim milk to make one cup.
To make whole milk out of 1% milk and Half & Half: Use 3 Tablespoons of half and half and the balance 1% milk to make one cup. (This means put the 3 tbsp of half & half into the measuring cup, then fill the rest with 1% milk until you get 1 full cup.)
To make whole milk out of skim milk and heavy cream: Use 1½ Tablespoons of heavy cream and the balance skim milk to make one cup. (This means put the 1.5 tbsp of heavy cream into the measuring cup, then fill the rest with skim milk until you get 1 full cup.)
To make whole milk out of 1% milk and Whipping Cream: Use 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream and the balance 1% milk to make one cup. (This means put the 1 tbsp of heavy cream into the measuring cup, then fill the rest with 1% milk until you get 1 full cup.)
Fat content in dairy products cover a range of acceptable percentages and while these substitutions are not precise to the gram, they use easy-to-measure quantities that come within 1 gram of the fat content of whole milk.
The recipe was pretty straight forward, though I think those who have never cooked with arborio rice were at a slight disadvantage. Arborio rice is able to soak up an incredible amount of liquid. Dorie says to cook the rice for 30 minutes until 80-90% of the liquid is absorbed. After 30 minutes, many had found that there was still a considerable amount of liquid left in the saucepan. Those who have cooked with arborio rice in the past, simply continued to cook it until most of the liquid was absorbed. Those who have not, did not continue to cook it - and ended up with rice soup instead of rice pudding. It didn't help that there was a typo in the cookbook. As Dorie posted, the rice needs to cook for 55 minutes, almost double the amount of time indicated in the cookbook.
I think in a recipe like this, it's more important to base "doneness" on how the pudding looks, rather than any particular time point. When cooking arborio rice, it's important to cook it low and slow, but at the same time, it will never get to where you want it to get if the heat is too low. I cooked my pudding at medium low heat instead of low heat, and probably a little closer to medium actually. You need to make sure that there is slight bubbling of your liquid at all times, but don't turn the heat up so high that it becomes a full boil. Also make sure that you stir fairly frequently, to prevent what's at the bottom of the saucepan from burning.
I chose to make a chocolate flavored Arborio Rice Pudding because I figured my husband, being a big chocolate lover, might be more inclined to like it (he isn't a fan of rice pudding in general). The pudding turned out nice and creamy, and plenty chocolatey. Unfortunately, I was unable to convert my husband into a rice pudding fan, even with my chocolate version. I'm not too sure I'm a big fan of it myself, either. I just didn't really care for the texture.
Thanks Isabelle, for choosing Arborio Rice Pudding. I never would have tried it on my own were it not for TWD. If you would like the recipe, you can find it here. Make sure you visit the TWD Blog Roll to see how everyone else enjoyed this creamy treat.
- Some TWD Bakers doubled the amount of rice in this recipe. I did not find this necessary... 1/4 cup of arborio rice doesn't seem like much, but it soaks up a ton of liquid and expands when cooked so it ends up being 4 servings, just as Dorie promises.
- I used semisweet chocolate chips in this recipe instead of chopping up a block of chocolate.
- Make sure you follow the tips above, to keep the heat at just the right level to achieve the perfect pudding.
- If you can't find arborio rice at your grocery store, look for "risotto rice" - they are one and the same.
- What to do with the rest of the arborio rice you've bought? Make some risotto! Try this Shrimp and Goat Cheese Risotto or Lemon Risotto.
- For more recipe tips, click here.