Friday, July 13, 2012

Rice Pudding with Poached Plums

Nothing says bummer summer like a week-long thunderstorm, right? It's been wet and gross here in Austin since Monday. The thunderstorms were so nuts that, on what turned out to be an unsuccessful Target run, the power went out three times. There's nothing freakier than being in a Target in a blackout with dozens of scared shrieking babies, I tell you what.

The rain sapped any and all culinary ambition in me. I was planning on making Chinese tea eggs and sweet and sour soup, but that shit takes time, man, and I was feeling way too lazy. Disinclined to do anything that required more than ten minutes at the stove, I made a quick stir-fry for dinner. Being the over-planner that I am, I made waaaaay more rice than needed. And what do you do with leftover rice?


What is more comforting than a bowl of creamy, dreamy, sweetly-spiced rice goodness on a dreary summer day when you can't do anything? Nothing. And the poached plums are divine on top of the pudding, their boozy wine-infused acidity cutting through the rich pudding. Simple. Perfect. Comfort food.

Rice Pudding (I adapted this recipe from Simply So Good, omitting the cornstarch because (a) I couldn't find any in the house, and (b) I ended up not needing it anyway -- this pudding thickens up quite nicely after a while)

2 cups cold cooked rice
2 cups milk
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, combine the milk, cream, and sugar over medium heat. When the liquid starts to boil, add the rice and stir constantly. When the mixture starts to boil, slowly add spoonfuls of it to the eggs, until you've added about half of the rice mixture to the eggs. Pour the egg/rice mixture back into the saucepan and lower the heat, stirring constantly until thick. Add spices to taste. I love cinnamon, so I just eyeballed the amount.

Poached Plums
6  plums (I used red plums)
2 cups red wine (I used a beautiful Malbec, solely as an excuse to open up the bottle and drink it)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Cut the plums in half and discard the pits. Place the plum halves in a saucepan. Add the wine, sugar, zest, and spices to the saucepan and give it a quick stir to combine all the ingredients. Cook on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until the plums are tender and the skins are wrinkled. Serve atop the rice pudding, and try not to wither away under the fiery glares of your family members when, after they have consumed all of the plums and pudding, they ask you for more and you sheepishly reply that there is no more.

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