- Food & Drink
If you’ve made and eaten your medieval Chicken in cumin sauce, you’re probably thinking to yourself: “That was a fairly filling plate of meat, bread and vegetables but what I need right now is a pudding so calorific it will sink me like an overburdened container ship.” Fortunately Seven Hundred Years of English Cooking can help with a recipe for spiced rice pudding with apples, which I’ve adapted a bit (mostly due to a lack of saffron).
It’s made with whole milk (transformed into almond milk) and cream, so you’re guaranteed the five star luxury mouthfeel that only a lactating cow can provide, but without sugar it tastes unfinished. This is where the apples sound their trumpets and ride in like the fructose cavalry. It’s supposed to be served warm, straight from the pan, but I tried some from the fridge the next day (leaning in, eating it greedily from the dish just like Nigella would, only in cheaper pyjamas) and I thought it tasted much better.
One note of warning: the rice is simmered on the hob and given the chance it will spit hot milk all over the hob, the walls and you like a pudding Vesuvius. Keep the heat low, simmer it gently and half cover it with a lid. Stir frequently to stop it sticking to the pan too much. Alternatively, try baking the rice, almond milk and cream together in the oven for 1–11/2 hours at gas mark 2/150°C/fan oven 130°C. Can’t guarantee it’ll work but it may save you a round of difficult washing up.
Almond rice pudding with spiced apples
300ml whole milk
150g ground almonds
1kg eating apples, such as Cox’s, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
125g pudding rice
300ml double cream
1 Pour the milk into a bowl with 300ml water and stir in the ground almonds. Cover and leave to soak for 2 hours to overnight.
2 Place the apples and spices in a pan with 250ml water and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes, until the apples are tender.
3 Meanwhile, place the rice and almond milk in a pan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to stop the rice sticking too much. Reduce the heat, half cover with a lid and simmer very gently, stirring frequently, for 15–30 minutes until the rice is tender and cooked through.
4 Stir in the cream and continue to cook for a couple of minutes until warmed through. Spoon the rice into 6 small, warm serving bowls and top with the apples to serve. Alternatively, spoon into a serving dish, top with the apples and chill until needed.