Welcome to the latest installment of Tuesday’s with Dorie.  This week’s recipe is Arborio Rice Pudding selected by Isabelle of Les gourmandises d’Isa. After my difficulty with last week’s recipe I was pretty excited about Isabelle’s choice – I’ve made pudding before, I can do this! I was also very interested in the “black” rice pudding (big surprise, right?), especially since I missed our most recent chocolate recipe.

After reading over the recipe I have to admit that 1/4 cup rice seemed insufficient in proportion to the 3 1/4 cups of milk.  However, because my pudding making experience prior to last night did not include rice pudding I dismissed any doubts and made out my shopping list.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t able to play with this recipe over the weekend as I intended.  So, instead of happily experimenting in my kitchen I sat down rather late on Sunday evening to read the P&Q – and I am so glad I did!  A big thanks to Dorie for her correction and all my fellow TWD-ers for sharing their experiences, it really made a big difference in this recipe.

One thing that was never in doubt was that I was going to make the “black” version of this recipe but I was in the mood to experiment a little so I had to do things just a little different…

I’ve frequently used Arborio rice to make risotto so I was a little surprised by how this recipe started out. I was expecting that we would want to have the rice releasing all of that starch directly into our milk and sugar mixture rather than losing some of it to the par boiling process, especially since Arborio rice has a pretty short cook time.  But I figured Dorie has her reasons so I followed along.

This is the first place I deviated from the recipe.  I decided to steep a vanilla bean in the milk and sugar while I was waiting for it to come to a boil.  I love all the little specs of vanilla seeds in the milk and the aroma was wonderful.

After that it was just a matter or waiting and stirring (not to mention salivating over the progressively more intense fragrance).

And here we have the rice pudding after about 30 minutes on the stove top.  This is why I’m so very pleased that I read the P&Q before making my pudding.  I can’t imagine this would have set up very well at all!

Look at the difference at 55 minutes.  My only surprise at this moment (and it really shouldn’t have been given the amount of ingredients) was the amount of pudding in the bottom of my pan.  The recipe says this makes 4 servings, but somehow I expected more than I got.

This is were I strayed from the recipe again.  I did stir the 1.5 oz of bittersweet chocolate into the bowl on the right to make my “black” pudding.  The bowl on the left, however, received a slightly different treatment than the recipe recommended.  It already had the vanilla from my earlier change and I added about 1/4 tsp of caramel concentrate (not syrup!), giving the finished pudding a lovely caramel creme flavor.

So there I was with caramel rice pudding and chocolate rice pudding…

The only thing that could possibly make them better is to put them in one bowl…with a little whipped cream and caramel sauce of course!  I’m still not sure that I’m 100% in love with the texture of rice pudding, but the flavor is marvelous.

Thank you very much for your selection this week, Isabelle, I thoroughly enjoyed my first rice pudding making experience.

As usual, you can find this recipe on our host-of-the-week’s blog or in Dorie’s Baking: From My Home to Yours on pages 412-413.