It's easy to hibernate in New York in the winter. It's cold and grey, the wind whips through the buildings straight to my bones, and the walk from my warm cozy apartment to the subway seems immeasurably long. This season, in an effort to spend more time together and keep ourselves from getting too lonely, some pals and I are going to make an effort to have a Sunday meal together a few times a month, a Sunday roast if you will. I don't know about you guys, but I will pretty much always show up when someone invites me for dinner, public transportation and weather be damned. Our inaugural dinner was a few weeks ago and I offered to bring along a sweet something to end the meal. I knew I needed something that was easy to transport and I wanted it to be both comforting and light, so I turned to the most comforting dessert I could think of then lightened it up with a healthy dose of citrus. Then, because it's winter, I put some booze in it. These chilled, boozy oranges are the perfect foil to creamy rice pudding and the perfect thing to share with friends, elbow to elbow, in someone else's warm cozy apartment. Now, getting up from the table and heading home is another story.
For the Pudding
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts
1c arborio rice
4 1/2c milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cara cara, navel or blood orange
3/4c heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1. In a medium bowl zest the orange directly in the sugar then scrape the vanilla bean and add the seeds into the sugar mixture. Rub the sugar, zest and seeds with your fingers until it is all evenly distributed.
2. Supreme the orange over a bowl, and squeeze the membrane to extract as much juice as possible. Strain off the juice and reserve for later, you should have between 1/4-1/3c of juice. You will use the orange segments later as well.
3. In a medium saucepan combine the rice, milk, salt, sugar mixture and vanilla bean pod. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30min. Remove the vanilla bean pod, rinse it off and save it for another use.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolks and reserved orange juice. Slowly add the hot rice mixture while whisking constantly. Return the entire mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium low heat until the mixture boils and thickens, about 10min. Remove from heat and cool slightly before serving. This can also be served room temperature or chilled. If you find the chilled rice pudding is too firm, loosen it up by stirring in a few tablespoons of milk or heavy cream.
Old Fashioned Oranges (like the cocktail)
Adapted from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert
4 cara cara, navel or blood oranges (plus the one from the rice pudding)
1. Zest the oranges into a medium sized bowl. Use a sharp knife to cut away the tops and bottoms of the oranges then using a sharp knife, cut the white pith away from the fruit and discard it. Over the bowl with the reserved zest, carefully cut the wedges of fruit away from the membrane and seeds, letting the fruit and juices fall into the bowl, add the reserved orange segments and juices from the rice pudding. Add the whiskey, then arrange the fruit and juices in a shallow dish, something like a 9x13 baking dish.
2. Spread the sugar into a large, dry skillet over medium heat and cook without stirring until the sugar starts to melt into a clear syrup. Turn the heat down a bit and continue cooking the syrup without stirring, you may shake the pan a little to distribute the sugar evenly.
3. When the syrup begins to color, stir gently with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to make sure it colors and cooks evenly. When the syrup is amber in color, remove it from the heat and stir until the syrup is a reddish amber color, the color of medium dark honey.
4. Immediately pour the hot caramel over the oranges, they may spit and sputter a bit. The caramel will harden when it comes into contact with the oranges. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 2 days. In that time the caramel will slowly melt into a syrup, perfect for drizzling.
Layer the rice pudding and oranges in small dishes and garnish with chopped pistachios, I forgot to add them in these photos.
- The host made some chocolate espresso cookies that we served alongside the pudding and it was a fantastic combo.