Friday, November 20, 2009

Empress Rice, Gourmet Magazine March 1972

Oh look, mama made a "fancy" dessert.
1972? Wow, that's Nixon era cooking. I wonder if you could mould one of these with ketchup and cottage cheese?Now that's elegant. I know I'd go right ahead and set out a bowl of raspberry sauce on Damask.

I just set mine on a plate on the counter. I mean, you know Mr. Eat The Blog will be standing in front of the fridge piling it into a bowl at 3 AM anyway-so why bother with all that fussiness of getting it centred on the plate? OK, I did a predictably sloppy job getting it on the plate and I'm afraid moving it will destroy the whole damn thing. He's still going to eat it standing at the fridge at 3 AM. You don't spend close to 20 years with someone and not know their eating habits.

Danny picked this recipe. I made it last evening, and unmoulded it this afternoon-it really needs sufficient time to set. I skipped the raspberry sauce, and cut waaay back on the amount of Kirsch the recipe called for. I will post it as written.

Yes, this was a pain in the behind. It has a million steps, and you really need to be comfortable with making custard bases, and so on. The recipe seems to assume people know at what temperature a custard will coat a spoon, and how to soften gelatin, but I'm going to go ahead and include a few notes in the recipe. I don't think Bavarians and such are as common for the home cook to be whipping up as they were in 1973 when this was published.

You Will Need:

1/2 cup glaceed fruit and 1/4 cup Kirsch set in a bowl to macerate for at least an hour.

1/2 cup rice
Water to cover
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 vanilla bean scrapings

1/3 cup apricot jam, heayed and strained
1 tablespoon Kirsch (I omitted this)

4 teaspoons powdered gelatin sprinkled over 1/4 cup water

4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups whole milk, scalded
A bowl of ice cubes and cold water

1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Oil for greasing mould

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In an oven-proof saucepan, blanch the rice in enough water to cover and boil 5 minutes. Drain rice well. Return rice to saucepan and add 1 3/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup sugar, butter, and vanilla bean scrapings.Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover tightly and bake for 1 hour. Remove and transfer rice to a shallow dish and cool.

In a saucepan, melt the apricot jam and strain through a fine sieve. Mix with kirsch. Strain this into the rice. Add the soaked glaceed fruit along with the liquid and combine gently.

In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let soften. If you have a microwave, 20 seconds will do a good job of liquefying it right before you use it. It will soften in the custard if you don't, but I find this quick step cuts down on the stirring time and ensures it will dissolve completely (don't worry, the strainer will catch any bits that don't melt).

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and they form a ribbon when beaters are lifted. Slowly, in a thin stream, add the scalded milk, beating as you go. Transfer back to a saucepan and over medium heat, cook, stirring constantly until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon (by "coats" it means, if you drag your finger through the film on the spoon, it will leave a line that does not blend immediately back into itself. You don't want to cook the eggs, but rather heat it enough to kill any bacteria and get it to set as a custard base. Again, don't freak out if a few small bits cook-that is why you strain it before pouring into a bowl. If you've ever made ice cream, this is pretty much the same technique.

Transfer the custard to a heatproof bowl (the metal bowl from a stand mixer works great) and set it in a large ice water bath. Stir constantly until it is cool, but not completely cold. Pour the custard into the rice a small amount at a time, mixing gently. Let the mixture cool completely, but do not let it set (in other words, don't put it in the fridge for an hour and forget about it).

Combine the custard and rice with 1 cup of whipped heavy cream and fold carefully combining well.

Grease a large 2 quart mould with a flavourless oil (they suggested sweet almond oil, which I obviously skipped) and pour int the mixture. Cover with plastic and chill at least six hours, or overnight. I left mine a full day.

Run a knife around the mould to loosen, and set it quickly in a pan of hot water. Unmould onto a platter and decorate with sweetened whipped cream, fruit sauce and additional glaceed fruit. Serves 8

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