This is my basic recipe for rice pudding, brûléed to make it "homey-fancy". Doll it up with coconut, fruit, spices, whatever you like. I love to add tea and chai spices or skip the brûlée and top it with poached plums or pears. Here, I keep it simple with some vanilla, cinnamon and dried cranberries. —Michelle Barry
Japanese sticky rice (or other short-grained rice)
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add rice and cook over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes until all grains are coated in butter.
Add milk, cinnamon sticks and salt and turn heat up until milk-rice mixture begins to boil.
Once the mixture is boiling, turn heat down and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure milk doesn’t scald, until rice is cooked through
Whisk sugar and eggs together in a bowl or large measuring cup.
Ladle ¼ to ½ cup boiling rice mixture into the eggs and sugar, stirring continuously. Whisk egg-sugar mixture into rice mixture and simmer until it thickens slightly. Keep your burner on the lowest setting at this point so that the pudding does not curdle.
Once pudding has thickened, remove from heat.
Remove cinnamon sticks and stir in vanilla and dried cranberries. Transfer to a serving dish. Allow to cool slightly, then cover with wax or parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving, remove parchment or wax paper and cover top of pudding with a thin sprinkling of turbinado sugar. Melt the sugar with a blow torch or place the dish under the broiler until the sugar is melted and serve.