This lavender mandarin rice pudding hits all the high notes for a dessert: creamy, sweet, and yes, even a touch of crunchy. I am thrilled to have passed the first round of the Marx Foods Risotto Gauntlet* and made it into the second round: dessert!
Rice pudding is a quintessential comfort food reminiscent of home and childhood. An important part of my childhood is my Mom's garden, including her stunningly fragrant lavender plants. The combination of mandarin and lavender results in an ethereal fragrance that is complimented by the creamy, custard topped rice and rich almonds.
Lavender Mandarin Rice Pudding with Almonds ~ serves 4
1/2 cup Integrale rice
1.5 cups skim milk
2 teaspoon lavender flowers, divided
zest of 2 mandarin oranges
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
1/4 cup almonds, blanched & slivered
Soak one teaspoon lavender flowers in the heavy cream. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325º F. Butter four individual ramekins. Set aside.
Put the other teaspoon of lavender flowers in a tea ball or cheesecloth. Cook the rice in the skim milk with the lavender stuffed tea ball. Zest the mandarin oranges into the rice. Add a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until milk is absorbed and rice is cooked. Remove from heat.
Strain the heavy cream and discard the lavender flowers. Whisk the cream, eggs and sugar together. Combine with the rice and the slivered almonds. Divide evenly among the prepared ramekins. Cook in a water bath for 50-60 minutes or until the custard has set. Sprinkle tops with sugar and using a torch or your broiler melt the sugar to brûlée the tops. Serve warm.
*I received a sample box of Integrale rice from Marx Foods. Recipe, photos, and all related text are my own.