Wednesday, 9 September 2015

middle eastern rice pudding with caramelised figs

"Come, woo me, woo me, for now I am in a holiday humour, and like enough to consent." I love this little line by Shakespeare. And you know what has wooed me lately? Figs! With the end of summer, fig season is also coming to an end. For years I avoided them despite the fact that we have a tree in the garden, suspicious of the purple onion-like shape and peculiar texture that reminded me of peaches – except crazy purple peaches, fraught with strands of membrane. It was only when I began baking with figs (yes, you guessed it – baking solves all dilemmas!) that I ended up thinking of the endless possibilities they presented, such as fig kulfi (Asian ice cream) jam, and tarts. 

My sisters bought me a lovely hamper recently of fresh organic fruit and veg, including apples; cucumbers, runner beans and of course – a whole bag of figs. I also heard that my dad is growing black tomatoes! Super excited to take those off his hands once harvested :) We've all decided to start eating a little healthier so incorporating more fruits and veggies seemed the perfect idea. But we cannot forsake dessert!

So guilt free decadence? Is there such a thing? Why, of course there is! Figs are just so exotic and luxurious and once ripe they actually taste as though they've been prepped somehow and haven't just fallen off a tree. The unique and complex flavour doesn't need any accoutrements but if you were to add some, simplicity is best. So I thought a light, spiced Middle-Eastern rice pudding elevated with rosewater, cinnamon and vanilla would taste magical with caramelised, almost jammy figs.

One of my sisters (the one I like to test things on as she’s very fussy) had it for pudding yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it, going so far as to say that she loved the flavour combination! This is the girl who turns her nose up at anything new, so this is a deceptively refreshing little number, sure to win you friends, smiles and family approval. If you’re not a rice pudding fan, prepare to be surprised. Sometimes it’s not so much the recipe but the execution that defines delicious. Am I bragging? Yes, just a little! :) 

Ingredients (serves 4)
For the rice pudding
140g long grain rice
300ml water
300ml milk
300ml coconut milk
6tbs granulated sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1 tbs rosewater
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the caramelised figs
4 figs, quartered
2 tbs soft brown sugar
1 tsp butter

Soak the rice for 30 mins, wash until water runs clear and drain.

Bring to the boil with the water, sugar and cinnamon stick and cook for about 5 mins on high heat.

Add the coconut milk and milk, stir and bring to the boil again. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid burning.

When the rice pudding has thickened to a creamy consistency and the grains of rice are broken and soft turn off the heat.

Take off the stove and add the rosewater and vanilla.

Once you are ready to serve the rice pudding (can be served hot or cold) prepare your figs.

In a frying pan add the butter and brown sugar on low heat and add the fig quarters, face down. gently cook for about 1 minute on each side and shake the pan instead of stirring to ensure that all the figs are completely caramelised.

Serve with 4 pieces of caramelised figs each on top of the rice pudding. Garnish with chopped pistachios if desired.

No comments: