Baked rice pudding is the simplest of desserts, but oh so satisfying. This version is subtly spiced with saffron, cinnamon and star anise, while sesame brittle adds crunch. It's lovely on its own, but for a hit of freshness, a simple salad of ruby grapefruit, tangelo and mandarin makes an excellent accompaniment. Serve any leftovers for breakfast - warm or chilled.
- 1 litre milk (4 cups)
- 500 ml pouring cream (2 cups)
- 2 cinnamon quills
- 2 star anise
- ¼ tsp saffron threads
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 180 gm arborio rice
- 100 gm honey
- 4 egg yolks
- 55 gm caster sugar (¼ cup)
- 80 gm honey
- 80 gm caster sugar
- 60 gm sesame seeds
- 1Preheat oven to 150C. Bring milk, cream, orange rind and juice, spices, and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer in a wide 2.5-litre casserole or ovenproof saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in rice, honey and a pinch of salt, cover with a lid or foil, and bake, stirring occasionally to break up the rice (it will clump together), until rice is tender (55 minutes to 1 hour).
- 2Meanwhile, for sesame brittle, stir honey, sugar and 60ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, bring to the boil and cook without stirring until dark caramel (6-7 minutes). Stir in sesame seeds and ½ tsp sea salt, then pour onto a lightly oiled tray and leave until set. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container until required.
- 3Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale, stir into baked rice, then stir continuously over medium heat until thickened (1-2 minutes). Discard cinnamon, vanilla bean and rind, spoon into bowls and serve warm topped with sesame brittle and a citrus salad.