Saturday, December 27, 2008

Egg nog revisited

And so it has come to pass that Christmas, 2008 is in the books. And the remains of the day are causing perilous balancing acts in the refrigerator. Anything could happen. That haddock could take a header into the stock during any one of the six daily enthusiastic openings for baby's milk alone. I hate to think of the mess that would ensue if there was a top shelf topple-down: shrimp into egg wash, over the champagne bottles, and on into the crisper to coat the mushrooms. I envision myself cleaning and washing for a full day but never again looking at anything on the left side of the fridge as if it could be clean: This is the sort of thing that could cause a compulsive to buy a new one and start over. I can't risk it.

In there, I have an inexplicable amount of left over cooked rice and a half gallon of un-spiked egg nog. After a bit more rustling, I also have a great deal of heavy cream (without a gallon on hand the holiday is cancelled) and half and half (we are black coffee drinkers but some people around here act as if their coffee causes them to use a quart a day but it is forever going 'round the bend three quarters full. Offensive.)

I digress. The point this happy refrigerator idiot is attempting to make is that in some order or another, this is rice pudding. For years I read rice pudding recipes and became increasingly stupefied at how complicated it seemed. Le Cordon Bleu at Home set me straight regarding how easy rice pudding really can be: Turns out The Hostess is not the only happy idiot who writes rice pudding recipes.

This is no measure of genius, Chums. You get some rice, you throw it in a sauce pan with a mixture of heavy cream, milk, some sugar, and vanilla until it comes an inch or two above the rice level. The milk and cream need to simmer gently and reduce until it becomes a very thick sauce. Allow this to cool and fold in some whipped heavy cream, maybe nutmeg, cinnamon, whatever strikes you.

Here is the thing, however. Recipes are suggestions in cooking and you should do what feels good. It felt good to find a use for all that egg nog. I boiled down the rice in nog and a little milk. It was already sweet and needed little sugar. A tiny bit of nutmeg and an hour of simmering later while I made the bolognese for dinner, and a new rice pudding king was born.

Only, this serves 6. Which leaves four servings to return to the fridge. But it is far more delicious than cold, plain rice. Even better than my old rice pudding love from Le Cordon Bleu. Win some. Lose some.

Egg Nog Rice Pudding
Serves 6

3 cups cooked rice
5 cups egg nog
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or one vanilla pod seeds extracted
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon.
1 cup heavy cream, whipped, divided as 1 cup for the pudding, 1/2 cup for garnishing pudding

Over medium heat in a heavy sauce pan, add rice, egg nog, whole milk, and vanilla. Bring to a bare boil and turn down heat to allow this mixture to simmer until reduced to a thick sauce just coating all the rice. Stir in nutmeg and cinnamon if you like, if not omit them without fear. Allow this mixture to cool for 1/2 hour stirring occasionally to allow pudding to release heat.

Take 1 cup whipped cream and gently fold into the pudding. Divide into 6 serving cups. Chill.

Top with spoonfuls of remaining whipped cream, dust with a little freshly ground nutmeg or cinnamon. Serve.

1 comment:

Culinarywannabe said...

Great use for leftover eggnog. We only have 2 in our house, so whenever I make dessert I get so sad that so much of it either goes to waste or sits in the fridge. The other night I attempted to bring some bread pudding over to our neighbors - I guess they don't do that sort of thing in nyc because they looked at me like I had 2 heads and I'm pretty sure that bread pudding went straight to the trash!