Spanish Rice Pudding & Brandied Cumquats

I touched on my early childhood misgivings about rice puddings in this post for goat’s milk rice pudding and I’m pleased to say that I am even further well and truly over my aversion for sweet rice dishes since then. Having said that, you won’t catch me buying cans of Ambrosia creamed rice just yet :|

Spanish Rice Pudding
As you might be able to tell from my last post (Olive Oil Pancakes & Orange Syrup), my favourite cook book at the moment is José Andrés’ Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen which is literally a tour of Spain through recipes. This rice pudding recipe caught my attention for its simplicity and the wonderful brûlée topping. Who wouldn’t enjoy cracking through a crispy layer of sugar and into some gooey, creamy sweetness?


I’ve also had a thing for cumquats since dining at Tsunami in Mosman Park and falling in love with their brandied cumquat (which no longer appears to be on the menu…). It was gloriously sticky and had just the right amount of brandy oomph. I longed to make some myself but you think you could find cumquats when you want them? You couldn’t give the darn things away once upon a time but suddenly, even Rochelle Adonis was sending requests via Facebook for cumquat donations.

I finally found some cumquats at the Boatshed Market and later they started cropping up at the local growers market so I think we can assume that cumquat fever has seen a lot of eager beavers raid their grandmother’s trees over winter. I tried a basic recipe for brandied cumquats which resulted in something more like a poached fruit than the sticky, candy-like version I enjoyed at Tsumami but when chopped up, it was still a nice accompaniment to my rice pudding. Oddly enough, in the same week I did my cumquats, Gary made up some poached cumquats during Masterclass. Cumquats: so hot right now.

Spanish Rice Pudding

So I’m pleased to say that I have finally found a rice dessert that I am looking forward to making again. The lovely Bomba rice really sucked in the rich flavours of the milk and cream. I used rapadura sugar which unfortunately made the rice pudding an off-white colour but it was worth the points lost for aesthetic presentation. The Thermomix, as with risottos, was a dream to use for this recipe but naturally it can be done up easily on the stove top. Just ensure you have a spare 30 minutes to keep an eye on the progress :P

You don’t have to brûlée the pudding if you don’t want to or don’t have a kitchen torch. Just serve it up in a nice bowl with the cumquats or add a sprinkle of cinnamon. The rice pudding is best eaten once ready but I enjoyed leftovers gently warmed up with a dash of milk. Certainly makes winter bearable!

Spanish Rice Pudding & Brandied Cumquats
(an adapted stove-top recipe is here)

500g whole milk (If you are diet conscious, you can use half or all hi-lo)
250g whipping cream
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean
200g Bomba or other Paella rice (you can use medium grain rice or risotto rice in a pinch)
60g granulated sugar (I used rapadura for a richer flavour)
1 tbsp butter
Enough sugar to brûlée the top

To Make: Combine the milk and cream with the cinnamon stick in the TMX bowl and heat for 3 minutes on 100C and Speed 1. Remove cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Add the rice and cook for 30 minutes at 90C and Reverse + 1.5 Speed, or until rice is tender. Stir in the granulated sugar and butter at Speed 1 for about 2 minutes. Spoon the pudding into ramekins or similar and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle generously with sugar and brûlée. Spoon on some chopped brandied cumquats on the side and serve.

Brandied Cumquats

1 cup of cumquats, washed, slit and deseeded (use a chopstick to poke out seed through the slit)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup of brandy

To Make: Blanch prepared cumquats at least twice to remove bitterness and put aside. Lightly caramelise the sugar by heating on medium heat in saucepan. Once browned, add water carefully and dissolve the caramel into water over low heat. Bring to boil until syrupy. Add brandy carefully and stir. Add cumquats into mixture and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool then transfer to storage container. Cumquats should be fine for two weeks in syrup. Probably longer!

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