Fried Orange Cardamom Rice Pudding Balls with Saffron Crème Anglaise
I love rice pudding. If a restaurant lists rice pudding on the menu, I have to try it because every chef has his or her own unique take on it. It’s sweet risotto, and like risotto, rice pudding is a marathon, not a race. Take a moment to deepen the flavor with cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and saffron. Then roll that delicious goodness into balls and fry it. Sweet, creamy, crunchy and, yes, deep-fried!
- Rice Pudding
- 2 strips orange peel plus ½ teaspoon grated zest, divided
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2½ cups half-and-half
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 cardamom pods
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Crème Anglaise
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split
- ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Pudding Balls
- Neutral oil for frying
- ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup sugar
- Rice Pudding: Combine 1 orange peel strip, water, butter and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the rice and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Bring the half-and-half, granulated sugar, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and vanilla to a low boil in another saucepan. Remove from heat and let half-and-half mixture steep for 45 minutes. Strain half-and-half into the saucepan with rice. Whisk in beaten egg and cornstarch. Cook for about 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, or until the rice thickens and becomes very sticky. Stir in the grated orange zest and mascarpone. Spread the rice on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until completely chilled.
- Crème Anglaise: Pour half-and-half into a heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean, and add bean and saffron threads. Bring half-and-half mixture to simmer. Remove from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes.
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk hot half-and-half into yolk mixture. Return custard to saucepan. Stir over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Strain sauce into bowl. Cover and chill. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)
- Rice Pudding Balls: Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or deep pot on high temperature. Place a rack on a baking sheet or cover with paper towel.
- Set up your breading station. Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Sprinkle cinnamon in the breadcrumbs and mix. Set aside.
- Remove chilled rice pudding from the refrigerator. Shape 1-inch diameter balls of the rice pudding with your hands. Dredge the balls in flour and shake to remove any excess. Dip them in eggs and drain. Coat with the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all balls are coated with breadcrumbs. Fry the pudding balls, a few at a time, until nicely browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on the baking sheet and continue with the remaining balls. Let cool.
- Roll the balls in sugar, garnish with chiffonade of orange peel and serve warm with crème anglaise.