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    Rice Pudding with Raisin Custard

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    Rice Pudding with Raisin Custard

    Rice pudding is one of those dishes that does not have the confines of a season, in fact, any time is rice-pudding time. Use the best grappa available in the custard, unless, that is, you can find marc. This dish can be eaten hot or cold, or, indeed, warmish, depending on your mood; it will always put you right. Even thinking about the recipe has a beneficial effect on me.

    • Preparation time: 45 minutes, plus overnight soaking
    • Cooking time: 90 minutes
    • Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes, plus overnight soaking 60 minutes 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: 8

    Ingredients

    • 100g unsalted butter
    • 150g caster sugar
    • 200g pudding rice
    • 1.6 litres whole milk
    • 200ml double cream
    • 1 vanilla pod, slit lengthways
    • ½ tsp salt
    • Raisin custard
    • 60g raisins
    • 75ml grappa
    • 200ml whole milk
    • 250ml double cream
    • 1 vanilla pod, slit lengthways
    • 3 large egg yolks
    • 60g caster sugar

    Method

    1. Put the raisins in a bowl, cover with the grappa and leave to plump up for at least a day, but 10 days or so would be infinitely preferable.
    2. For the rice pudding, heat the oven to 160°C/gas 3. Put the butter and sugar in a large, heavy-based casserole and allow to melt over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil and let bubble, without stirring, until it turns into a golden caramel. Add the rice and stir to combine with the caramel, then add the milk and cream. Once the liquid hits the caramel, it will turn hard and stringy. Don’t worry: as the liquid heats up, the caramel will melt into it and become smooth again. Scrape in the vanilla seeds along with the pod and the salt. Bring to the boil and place in the oven for 1½ hours, until it’s thick and creamy and golden brown on top.
    3. To make the custard, pour the milk and cream into a pan. Scrape in the vanilla seeds and add the pod, too. Bring to the boil; remove the pod.
    4. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Pour the boiling milk over the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Then pour it back into the saucepan and cook on a low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl and add the soaked raisins (drain them if there is still any grappa not absorbed).
    5. Remove the vanilla pod from the hot rice pudding and spoon the rice into deep bowls. Pour the custard on top, making sure everyone gets a fair amount of grappa-soaked raisins.

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    Drinks recommendation

    You could serve yet more grappa, but if that seems too ferocious, give a voluptuous sweet sherry an outing.

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