Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 24, 2022
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Rice pudding with honey-roasted pears

Kokkari’s creamy rice pudding never varies, but the accompaniment does. In the fall, honey-roasted pears in a glossy vanilla syrup often share the plate. In other seasons, it’s paired with a dried fruit compote, a sour-cherry spoon sweet, sugared berries or roasted peaches.

3 c. (750 ml) whole milk
¾ c. (180 ml) heavy cream
½ c. (125 ml) arborio rice
¼ c. (60 ml) sugar
1-inch (2.5-cm) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) grated orange zest
1 large egg yolk
baked pears (recipe follows)

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, ½ cup (125 ml) of the cream, the rice and sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan, then add the pod. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring, then reduce the heat to low and let bubble gently, uncovered, stirring often to prevent sticking, until the rice is fully cooked and the mixture is creamy and thick, 50 to 60 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) cream. Whisk in some of the hot mixture to warm the yolk, then pour into the pan. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then remove from the heat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and let cool to warm. You can serve at once or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours; bring to room temperature before serving and thin, if necessary, with a few tablespoons of milk.

To serve, remove the vanilla bean and divide the pudding among 6 dessert plates. Put a warm pear half, cut side up, on or alongside the pudding. Drizzle with any juices remaining in the baking dish. Serves 6.

Baked pears

3 large Bosc or other pears, halved, peeled and cored
¼ c. (60 ml) packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. (30 ml) warm honey
1-inch (2.5-cm) piece of vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Put the pears, cut side down, in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in 1 layer. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and drizzle with the honey. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the dish, then add the pod. Bake, uncovered, using a pastry brush to baste the pears occasionally with the accumulated juices in the dish, until the pears are tender when pierced, 45 minutes. Turn the pears cut side up and baste again. Let cool to warm.

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