Tuesdays With Dorie

TWD – Black and White Arborio Rice Puddings – or in my case, Puddles.

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I was hopeful.  I really was.  I'm not a huge fan of rice pudding, but I had Arborio rice, and everything else in the recipe, so I figured, why not?  I even thought I'd make both the chocolate and the plain, just because the photo possibilities would be fun.

So I did.

But first – uncharacteristically for me – I checked out the P&Q for this recipe.  I rarely do that, mostly because I just don't think of it.  And so far, it hasn't been much of an issue anyway.  But when I was looking at the recipe, I just thought something was off.  To me, it seemed like the amount of rice was way too small for the amount of liquid called for.  So I read through the questions and observations of the TWD bakers who'd been working on the recipe ahead of me.  And yes, the amount of rice was one of the issues addressed.  A few people inceased the amount of rice to just about double what was called for.  The other issue was the simmer time.  According to the book, the parboiled rice was to simmer in milk for 30 minutes, then chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.  People had written in to say that the mixture wasn't thickening, even after refrigeration.  Dorie – yes, THAT Dorie – wrote in to say that there was an error on the page – should have been 55 minutes, not 30.  Thanks, Dorie!  So, armed with all that information, and glad I'd taken the time to check, I went ahead and made a double batch of pudding.  (I thought, if I'm making it, I might as well make plenty.)

So I proceeded.  I doubled the amout of rice, and I increased the time spent simmering in the milk.

But still…something was wrong.  And this morning, after my puddings (one plain, one chocolate) spent the night in the fridge, both are still more like soup than pudding.

Drat.

I think some of the problem was the initial parboiling of the rice.  The directions say to put the rice in the pot of water and bring to a boil, then drop to low and cook for 10 minutes, uncovered.

Now, I doubled the amounts of water, milk and sugar because I was doubling the recipe, but I actually quadrupled the amount of rice, because it seemed to me (and a few others) that there wasn't enough.  Now I'm wondering, since the water was just used for parboiling and not for the final product, if maybe I should have quadrupled that as well instead of just doubling it. 

I'm thinking the proportion of water to rice had changed from Dorie's recipe, and therefore the rice cooked more (because it was in a lesser amount of water) then it would have if I'd kept the proportion the same.  So, since the original recipe said to parboil a quarter cup of rice in 2 cups of water (a ratio of 1 part rice to 8 parts water by volume), then, if I'd doubled the amount of rice AND doubled the recipe, I should have used 1 cup of rice and 8 cups of water for the parboiling, rather than 1 cup of rice and 4 cups of water. 

Because, bottom line, my rice seemed over cooked before it even went into the milk.

So it looks like the problem was mine here.  I cooked the rice in the milk for an hour and ten minutes and it was still soupy, but I wanted to go watch "House" by that point, so I decided it was as done as it was ever going to be, and I divided the batch into two bowls, added vanilla to one, chopped chocolate to the other, stirred, and let them cool a bit.

During a commercial I stirred them some more and had a taste.  The vanilla tasted good – though the texture was wrong.  The chocolate?  Hm.  It's strange to even say this, but it was too chocolatey.  Maybe semisweet instead of bittersweet would have been better.  And maybe I'd feel differently if the mixture became more puddinglike.  So into the fridge they went.

And this morning?

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Soup.

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Ah well.

The chocolate was a teeny tiny bit thicker, but still, it wasn't puddingy.  It was chocolatey rice in a bowl of chocolatey sweetened milk.  Better than a kick in the head, yes, but not what I was aiming for.

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Like I said at the beginning, I'm not really that crazy about rice pudding to begin with.  have

But.  I still might have to make this one more time (a smaller batch), just to see if my whole proportion of rice to water theory was a factor.  If I do it, I'll let you know.

This week's recipe was chosen by Isabelle of Les gourmandises d'Isa, and you can find the recipe on her site or in Dorie Greenspan's Baking:  From My Home to Yours on page 412. 

And, you can see how all the other TWD members did by checking out the enormous blogroll here.

13 thoughts on “TWD – Black and White Arborio Rice Puddings – or in my case, Puddles.

  1. Gotta admire someone willing to go to this much work and do it yet again for perfection for something she doesn't necessarily like anyway…I am sure that is a very marketable skill! Great post…it is fun to hear about a process and the results…the mad scientist in me, I think!

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