Monday, May 31, 2010

Um.. is it supposed to do that?

I thought I'd have a go at rice pudding (p213) last night. It's one of those old-fashioned puddings that everyone's heard of, but I'd never tried to make it before. The recipe seemed quite straightforward, though, so I figured there was nothing much that could go wrong.

The instructions are to put some short-grain rice, sugar, milk and vanilla essence in an oven dish, sprinkle over some nutmeg, and bake it at 150 degrees for 2 hours, stirring a few times in the first hour. Sounds pretty simple, right?

The thing is, I didn't really want to have my oven on for 2 hours, just for a little dish of rice - especially since I was only cooking a half-mix. I decided to try it in my benchtop oven. It has a baking function, and as long as you keep turning your dish around, you can bake quite successfully in it. I usually have no trouble adapting familiar recipes for my "little oven", but an unfamiliar one presented a bit more of a challenge.

The recipe didn't say that the dish should be covered during cooking. I was very tempted to put the lid on anyway, since anything cooked in the little oven is very close to the top element, and has a tendency to burn. This was my reasoning when I put a lid on my baked apples a few weeks ago - and they did not come out the way they should have. So I decided to follow the recipe and leave the lid off.

After about 10 minutes cooking, I took the pudding out to stir it. Surprisingly, the rice was already showing signs of cooking, and there was a skin forming on the surface. I vigourously applied my whisk until the skin was gone. And back into the oven.

The next two times I stirred  the pudding were a repetition of the first. Each time I whisked up the mixture to get rid of the skin, and each time the rice looked more cooked. I knew it wasn't going to take the full 2 hours to cook.

I wasn't supposed to stir it after the first few times, but I still had to keep turning the dish to stop it from burning. The next time I checked it, there was a skin on it again - which had puffed up so high it was being scorched by the top element! It was at this point I started to suspect that I wasn't going to get the best result from my little oven.

I popped the skin with the point of a knife and it deflated itself. In another 10 minutes, it was back up again, and looking decidedly scorched. I figured it might be time to call "game over". I pulled out the pudding, and peeled away the weird scorched bubble from the top. To my astonishment, the pudding underneath looked quite good! A bit overdone perhaps, but certainly not as bad as I'd expected.

The pudding tasted pretty good - a little bland, but I guess that's probably the nature of rice puddings. I stirred through some frozen yoghurt, which improved the flavour. I've got no idea whether the big bubble on top is normal for a rice pudding, but I suspect not. All things considered, I probably should have used my main oven.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular posts this week