quick, before it’s gone

rice pudding brulee

They say that timing is everything when it comes to comedy and politics but I’d like to propose another to add to that adage. Yes my friends, timing is everything when it comes to food blogging. I know it may not seem like there’s much to it, I mean you cook something, take a photo of it, eat it and then write a bit of a story  about it. Simple right?

While sometimes of course, things run like clockwork and it all comes together as it should. There are a few major limitations that mean that it often requires a bit more thought to get all the pieces in place. The first is my day job. Now don’t get me wrong, I love making biscuits for a living, it’s just that the pesky requirement that I spend a large chunk of each day from Monday to Friday in a work environment tends to put a bit of a restriction on the time I can devote to my blogging.

And then there’s the limitation of the amount of precious daylight available on weekends. You see, after some experimenting when I was first getting into my amateur food photography, I quickly came to the realization that food just needs natural light to look any good in a photo. For me it was pointless trying to get a decent shot with artificial light, so I decided to stick to daytime shooting.

Which is all well and good when you’re cooking up a lovely lunch, but a little trickier when we’re talking a dinner recipe. So sometimes I cook ahead and get my snap during the day and then reheat to serve. And other times I cheat and take a work-in-progress shot of however far things have progressed when the sun starts to sink below the horizon. But most often I make extra to have leftovers for picturing the following day.

This brings me to the third timing critical issue: keeping the prepared food from being eaten before there is suitable light the following day. Yes sometimes it’s hard to predict the appetites of your guests and if something particularly takes their fancy it does seem a little petty to deny their requests for seconds when all you are planning is to capture said food in digital form for posterity. And then of course there’s the other risk: the midnight snacker in a moonlight fridge raid.

Over the weekend at my Dad’s farm, this week’s recipe almost became a victim of just suck a fridge strike. After a very filling family Saturday dinner, I tucked my pudding leftovers into the refrigerator to await their fifteen minutes. But when morning broke and I reached for my subject, I found the dish to be seriously more empty than it had been the night before. At first I was thinking that I’d have to come up with a plan B to share with you dear readers, but on second inspection I figured there was enough left to at least give you an idea. And there you have it a comforting, traditional, grandmotherly dessert, given a new lease of life in the form of a crunchy burnt sugar topping… all good things.

rice pudding brulee with poached prunes
serves 8

Inspired by the creamy dreamy rice pudding with marsala baked quince by Sophia Young in this months edition of Vogue Australia Entertaining + Travel.

While the pudding did sound lovely with the quince, I knew I wasn’t going to have the time required to get the quince cooked to rosy perfection, but if you are in a quince mood, feel free to try the recipe HERE. Of course if you aren’t a fan of prunes you could always poach some pears or dried apricots or just keep it simple and go for the brulee pudding straight up.

If you don’t have a blow torch and you’re a brulee fan, I’m highly recommending investing but you could always take your chances with trying to get things nicely browned under the grill.

for the pudding:
1/2C (110g) sugar
6C (1.5L) full cream milk
1C (200g) Arborio rice
zest ½ lemon
1t vanilla extract
2 cinnamon quills
sugar for bruleeing extra
for the prunes:
1/2C (125mL) dry white wine
1/2C (125mL) water
3/4C (165g) sugar
1 star anise, optional
500g pitted prunes
marscapone or double cream to serve, optional

Preheat oven to 180C. Combine pudding ingredients in a large oven proof lasagna dish approx 12cups or 3L capacity. Cover tightly with foil and place inside a larger oven proof roasting pan. Add boiling water to the pan to come approx 1/3 the way up the side of the lasagna dish. Bake for approx 2hours or until rice has absorbed the milk and the rice is tender. Allow to cool to room temp.

For the prunes combine all ingredients except prunes in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add prunes and simmer for 10mins or until prunes have swelled up.

To serve, sprinkle top of the pudding with sugar and brulee with your trusty blowtorch. Divide pudding between bowls and add a few prunes and their juice on the side. Serve with marscapone or cream passed separately.



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