This recipe came to be when I was tasked with making an easy to transport dessert for a dinner party. I knew I wanted to make something both citrusy and comforting so I took a cue from the Blood Orange Tarts in Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts and combined oranges and rice pudding. In lieu of plain oranges I added my take on the Chilled Oranges from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert and added a healthy dose of bourbon which, when combined with caramel syrup, slightly bitter orange zest and orange segments, taste like a perfect Old Fashioned Cocktail. I suggest you serve the rice pudding slightly warm and the boozy oranges chilled for maximum effect, but you can serve the rice pudding chilled if you prefer. —Yossy Arefi
In a medium bowl zest the orange directly in the sugar then scrape the vanilla bean and add the seeds into the sugar mixture. Rub the sugar, zest and seeds with your fingers until it is all evenly distributed
Supreme the orange over a bowl, and squeeze the membrane to extract as much juice as possible and reserve for later. You should have 1/4c-1/3c of juice. You will use the orange segments later as well.
In a medium saucepan combine the rice, milk, salt, sugar mixture and vanilla bean pod. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30min. Remove the vanilla bean pod, rinse it off and save it for another use.
In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolks and reserved orange juice. Slowly add the hot rice mixture while whisking constantly. Return the entire mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium low heat until the mixture boils and thickens, about 10min. Remove from heat and cool slightly before serving. This can also be served room temperature or chilled. If you find that the chilled rice pudding is too firm, loosen it up by stirring in a few tablespoons of milk or heavy cream.
Old Fashioned Oranges
Zest the oranges into a medium sized bowl. Use a sharp knife to cut away the tops and bottoms of the oranges then using a sharp knife, cut the white pith away from the fruit and discard it. Over the bowl with the reserved zest, carefully cut the wedges of fruit away from the membrane and seeds, letting the fruit and juices fall into the bowl, add the reserved orange segments and juices from the orange used in the rice pudding. Add the whiskey, then arrange the fruit and juices in a single layer in a 9x13 baking dish or other shallow dish.
Spread the sugar into a large, dry skillet over medium heat and cook without stirring until the sugar starts to melt into a clear syrup. Turn the heat down a bit and continue cooking the syrup without stirring, you may shake the pan a little to distribute the sugar evenly.
When the syrup begins to color, stir gently with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to make sure it colors and cooks evenly. When the syrup is amber in color, remove it from the heat and stir until the syrup is a deeper reddish amber color.
Immediately pour the hot caramel over the oranges, they may spit and sputter a bit. The caramel will harden when it comes into contact with the oranges. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 2 days. In that time the caramel will slowly melt into a syrup, perfect for drizzling.
Layer the rice pudding and oranges in small dishes and top with chopped pistachios if you like. Serve the extra oranges and syrup on the side.
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com & yossyarefi.com.