This recipe comes from Molly Baz's maximalist new cookbook "More is More." While we can't wait to cook our way through the entire book, we had to start with dessert first; this outrageously delicious and unique rice pudding was calling us!
"I am a sucker for black sesame desserts, and this one is no exception. Think of this as the love child of creamy rice pudding and classic crème brûlée...and then some. Tahini and black sesame seeds provide a nutty background flavor for this light-as-clouds spiced custard. It may look intimidating, but really all you're doing is boiling some rice, whisking together eggs and cream, and letting it gently cook in the oven. The final touch is a layer of crackly sugar on top that requires no fancy culinary torches or specialty equipment--just a baking sheet and your oven's broiler."
4 c heavy cream
1 c whole milk
7 large eggs
1/2 c long-grain white rice
1/4 c black sesame seeds
1 1/4 c sugar
2 heaping tbsp Seed + Mill Organic Tahini
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
Do some prep:
1. Position one rack in the bottom third of the oven and remove any other racks. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place a 9-inch round cake pan into a deep skillet that fits the pan and still has some room around it. This will be your bain-marie setup!
3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add a generous 1/2 c long-grain white rice, stir, and boil until nearly tender but still slightly undercooked, about 8 minutes. Drain. Transfer the parcooked rice to the cake pan.
4. In a mortar and pestle or resealable bag with a rolling pin, coarsely crush 1/4 c black sesame seeds.
Make and Bake the Pudding Brûlée:
1. In a medium saucepan, combine 4 c heavy cream and 1 c whole milk and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, just until it comes to a bare simmer. Turn off the heat.
2. While the cream mixture heats, in a large bowl, whisk together 6 large egg yolks and 1 large egg. (Reserve the whites for another use.)
3. Whisk in 3/4 c sugar, 2 heaping tbsp tahini, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ground cardamom, and the ground black sesame seeds.
4. While whisking continuously, slowly stream the hot cream mixture, a little at a time, into the bowl. Once the mixture in the bowl seems to have reached the same temperature as the mixture in the pot, begin to pour with more gusto.
5. Pour the hot custard over the rice in the cake pan. Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven. Fill a vessel with a pour spout with hot tap water and fill the skillet until the water comes about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the cake pan.
6. Bake until the custard is set but still quite jiggly, 38 to 42 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool at room temperature for 20 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator until cold, at least 4 hours.
7. Position a rack at least 6 inches from the broiler. Preheat the broiler.
8. Sprinkle the baked custard with the remaining 1/2 c sugar and shake the pan from side to side to distribute the sugar in an even layer. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet under the broiler. Watch carefully, rotating the sheet if necessary to encourage even browning, until the sugar melts and becomes deeply caramelized, 2 to 6 minutes depending on the strength of your broiler. Remove from the oven and either chill again until cold or serve immediately!
Photographs copyright © 2023 by PEDEN + MUNK