Tibetan-style Rice Pudding (serves 6)
This rich cooked pudding is simple and satisfying.
6 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup clover or your favorite honey, and more to taste
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup white basmati rice, rinsed well
1/4 c. dried apples, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tbsp. butter, plus more to taste
1. Simmer the milk, honey, and salt over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Do not let it boil! Stir in the rinsed rice, then reduce the heat. Simmer at a low bubble and stir occasionally, until rice is very soft and milk is nearly absorbed, about 30 minutes.
2. Add raisins, apples, and continue to simmer until the apples are softened and pudding is very thick, 5–10 minutes more. Just before serving, stir in the butter. Serve warm, with extra honey or butter, if you like.
Baked Rice Custard (serves 6 - 8)
Somewhere between rice pudding and egg custard, this hearty recipe uses leftover rice, for an easy weeknight dessert after a simple soup and salad.
Great for getting rid of that container of take-out rice. Using rapadura sugar
instead of white gives the custard a tasty, wholesome molasses-y goodness.
4 c. lowfat milk, or richer milk, if desired
2 c. cooked leftover rice of any variety
3 large eggs (not extra large)
2 - 3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 - 3/4 c. sugar, white or rapadura
1/2 tsp. kosher or granulated sea salt
Optional: 1/3 c. raisins or currants
Dusting of ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Then, make sure you have a glass or ceramic medium-sized baking pan that will accomodate 2 - 2 1/2 quarts of volume. The custard will expand a little upon baking. Personally, I use a 8x8 square glass pan, leaving an inch of space above the filling, and then put the leftover bit of custard mix into a couple of custard cups or a small baking dish to bake along with the larger pan. I also use a baking dish with handles to make it easier to lift from the bain-marie after baking.
2. Heat the milk over low heat in a medium saucepan with the rice. Simmer, do not boil, for 10 minutes. In the meantime, beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy, then mix in the sugar and salt. Pour in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and stir briskly to temper (or you'll end up with scrambled egg); repeat tempering 2 - 3 more times, then slowly mix in the rest of the heated mixture. Add the vanilla (and dried fruit, if using). Pour into baking dish(es) and sprinkle top sparingly with nutmeg.
3. Place the custard dish into a larger baking pan. Prepare a water bath (bain-marie) for baking the custard by filling the holding pan halfway up with boiling water. Bake custard in the bain-marie in center rack of oven for 45 - 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean. Cool on a rack at least 45 minutes before serving. If you like, you can pour a little half and half over it for an extra treat. Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container.
Sephardic Hanukkah Donuts
Makes about a dozen donuts, also known as “bimuelos”.
1 pkg. dry yeast (a little more than 2 tsp.)
2 cups warm water
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. canola oil
3 ¼ c. unbleached white flour
Oil for deep frying
Honey or powdered sugar for drizzling
- In a large mixing or bread bowl, stir yeast into 1 cup of the warm water and let sit 5 - 10 minutes to proof the yeast. When yeast bubbles rise, stir in the other cup of water, sugar, salt, and the 1 Tbsp. of oil. Then gently stir in the flour a little at a time, until you have a loose, wet dough. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let dough rise in a warm spot for at least 1 ½ hours.
- Heat frying oil in a deep fryer (or medium-sized pot of oil about 3” deep) to 370° F.
- Set a bowl of water to the side to moisten your hands. Shake off excess water and pick up about 3 – 4 Tbsp. of the dough. Roll it into a ball, poke a hole in the center, and carefully drop into hot oil. Don’t overcrowd. Fry each batch until golden brown and drain donuts on paper toweling or a wire rack.
- Assemble on a serving plate and drizzle with honey (I especially like blackberry honey for this) or sprinkle with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately.
- If you want to try another interesting version, add a few drops of rose water or other flower water to ½ cup warmed simple syrup (or warmed slightly-thinned honey), and drizzle syrup over the donuts. But don’t overdo the floral water, as a little goes a long way.
Vegetable and Potato Latkes (serves 8)
Use any combination, like carrots and other grated root vegetables, chopped cooked spinach or chard. Squeeze out the liquid by placing grated veggies in a clean kitchen towel and then pressing the twisted bundle against the bottom of a large colander. For variety, spice them up with a little pinch of curry or cumin.
1 ½ lbs. grated mixed vegetables, peeled first, if necessary, and squeezed dry until about 3 packed cups
1 small onion, grated; or 1 cup minced scallions
2 large eggs or whites of 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ c. white or whole wheat flour or 2 T. powdered arrowroot
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Olive or vegetable oil or butter for greasing the pan
Heat the oven to 275°F. Grate the potatoes and vegetables with the grating disk of a food processor, or by hand. Mix together the vegetables, onion, egg, flour, salt and pepper. Add a little more flour if the mixture if mixture doesn’t hold together when a spoonful is formed into a ball. Set aside.
Heat the oil or butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, drop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil, and use a fork to spread the vegetables into an even layer, then press down a bit. To keep from getting soggy, cook in small batches and don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides, about 3 minutes each side. Place finished pancakes on a cookie sheet and store in the oven until all are finished. Serve hot or at room temperature, with sour cream and applesauce.