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Rachel Khoo's Old school rice pudding with Chantilly cream and homemade honeycomb

Rice pudding is the ultimate cosy food, rich, unctuous and creamy; it’s as comforting to make as it is to eat

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time30 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy

For the rice pudding

160g pudding rice or other short grain rice
500ml unsweetened almond milk
A couple of drops of almond extract
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

For the crème Chantilly

1⁄2 vanilla pod, cut widthways
150ml whipping cream
4 tablespoons sugar

For the honeycomb

100g caster sugar
50g golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g dark chocolate

Equipment

Whisk
Wooden spoon
Large saucepan
Paring knife
Board
Large bowl
Sugar thermometer
Baking paper
Baking tray
Small bowls for serving

Ingredients 

Put the rice, almond milk and almond extract into a large pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 25–30 minutes or until the rice is tender but still slightly nutty in texture. Stir occasionally to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

In the  meantime,  make  the  honeycomb.  line  a  baking  tray  with  silicone-coated  baking paper. Put the sugar and the golden syrup into a large heavy, based saucepan over a medium heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 150°C, by which point it will be golden and bubbly. Take off the heat and quickly whisk in the bicarbonate of soda (it will start to rise and foam up). Pour quickly into the baking tray and leave to cool slightly before placing in the fridge.  

While the honeycomb is cooling, break the dark chocolateup into small pieces. Place in a small heatproof bowl. Add a few cms of water to the base of a pan just big enough to hold  the  bowl  without  the  bowl  touching  the  water  beneath. Simmer  over  a  low  heat, stirring the chocolate to melt it. 

Once the honeycomb is cool and firm, bash up half the honeycomb quite roughly. Take a few of the shards and dip in the melted chocolate then leave to set on a lined baking tray. 

Meanwhile, make the crème Chantilly: split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds in a bowl with the cream and sugar and whisk to stiff peaks. 

Add sugar to taste to the rice and serve the pudding either warm or chilled, topped with the crème Chantillyand serve the chocolate dipped honeycomb on the side.

Tips

  1. As I'm using almond milk here, I like to enhance its almondy-ness with a couple of dropsof extract, but a vanilla pod with the seeds scraped out works a treat too.
  2. I like to use unsweetened almond milk here (always check the carton carefully), but if you only have a sweetened one, leave out the sugar in the recipe. 
  3. Always try to shop for extract not essence when buying your flavourings -essence is the cheaper and often synthetic cousin. 
  4. Use any short grain rice in your cupboard as these are starchy and sticky, which is  just  what  you  need  to  get  a  creamy  rice  pudding.  You  can  use  risotto  rice  or paella rice as a substitute. 
  5. Alternative wholegrain rices like red or black, give a nice nutty texture, but if you want a really creamy rice pudding, the shorter grain rices are the ones to go for.
  6. Once cool, chill the rice in a covered container in the fridge for about 4 hours (it will keep for a couple of days).You may need to add a little more almond milk to loosen up the rice before serving. 
  7. Once  you’ve  added  the  bicarbonate  of  soda  to  the  honeycomb  avoid  the temptation to stir too much, the less you stir, the bigger the bubbles will be.You want to keep the air trapped in there. 
  8. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, do not fear, you want all the sugar to dissolve and become a rich amber colour. That’s when you know to add the bicarb. 
  9. Be very careful with the hot sugar, and be sure to use a large pan to accommodate the volume of puffy honeycomb.
  10. What if  you don't have a thermometer? There are various methods  you can try. One of the simplest is by taking a small amount of the syrup and dropping it into a glass of cold water. Take the solidified drop out and observe its texture; the harder the texture the higher the temperature. For making honeycomb you need the sugar to form a hard ball that cracks on contact with the cold water (referred to as the hard crack temperature).
  11. Be sure to use a strong silicone coated baking paper here, or better still a silpat mat. You don’t want the hot sugar to stick!
  12. For whipping cream - chill your bowl ahead and keep your cream superchilled at the back of the fridge before starting for the best results. (this slows down the rateat which the milk proteins coagulate as the cream is whipped which means you’ll get a lighter whip). 
  13. Place metal or glass bowl on a bag of frozen peas will help whip quicker.
  14. When it comes to creams for the chantilly, you can use double cream instead of whipping  cream,  but  as  it  has  a  higher  fat  content,  about  48%  versus  whipping cream’s 36%, it is easier to overwhip it. Single cream, on the other hand, won’t whip being only 18%. 
  15. The quantity of honeycomb makes far more than is required but you can store the rest in an airtight container for several days