Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CAFÉ LATTE RIZ AU LAIT

BEWITCHED


A secret vice, stolen moments, the giddy covert activities of a schoolgirl usually so well behaved and never naughty. The second her back was turned, up I would steal, silently, invisible to her ever-watchful eye and snatch mouthfuls, long pulls on a straw or sips grabbed by stealth while ice cubes pressed up against my hungry, eager lips, threatening to clatter against the glass, tumble out and give me away. There was something magical, alluring about those tall, dreamy iced coffees my mother would fix herself. How I detested the bitter taste of her morning coffee, yet how I loved the creamy, sugary goodness of these summer afternoon libations she prepared only for herself: a splash of coffee, rich with milk, ever so sweet like coffee ice cream or candies popped in your mouth surreptitiously, frosty with ice cubes galore clinking and jiggling so elegantly against the glass. She protected those summer treats like a mama bear protecting her young against scavengers and outside intruders, so I was reduced to snatching gulps each time she stepped away, leaving that bewitching glass of heaven unattended, ignored. Try as I might, no matter how small I made myself, hanging around nonchalantly, inconspicuous in a corner of the kitchen, waiting, she always knew what I was up to and the warning came out sharp and business-like… “Stay away from my iced coffee!



Yes, this was the only form I could or would take my coffee, until those heady years of college when drinking pot after pot of strong, aromatic coffee in some all-night diner became a ritual. Thick white ceramic mugs placed in front of each one of us, my girlfriends and I, and that silver coffee pot crowned by swirls of steam passed from hand to hand. Sugar, milk and a plateful of thick, dense, hot homebaked southern biscuits washed down with our now favorite addiction. The taste for coffee came upon me gradually, so long averse to the disagreeable acrid flavor in those freshman years. Friday or Saturday nights after hours, after parties, after girls’ nights in, slipping away to spend a few hours under the harsh lights of our favorite joint, hard wooden benches and sticky tabletops only adding to the charm and devilry, coffee and laughter just seemed to be a part of the sweet memories.

Did it take weeks or months to develop an inclination, nay, an overwhelming appetite for the dark, bitter brew? When did I develop a partiality, an absolute weakness for coffee? Even after all those years of iced, my predilection soon became for the hot, nearly scorching… I was once told a story that my great-great grandfather drank cup after cup of scalding tea, the hotter the better and I sometimes wonder if this tendency, this veritable need for my liquid to be hotter than hot is genetic somehow. Yes, one will rarely find me drinking iced coffee these days; pour it hot, halfway up the side of the mug, if you please, allowing room for scalding milk. Hot and milky and just a tad sweet, a third of a small, rectangular cube, more to caress, enhance and accentuate the exotic, troublesome, delightfully severe flavor of coffee than overpower it.


Which brings me to my love for all things coffee. Shall I condemn those long-ago purloined sips of mother’s frothy, chilly drink or those crazy, joyous, giggly, tipsy evenings out on the town with my best friends? Shall I blame it all on nights spent sitting with the girls, gossiping, bemoaning our single state and complaining about men, spoons stuck out of pints of luxurious, silky, frosty coffee Hagen Dazs like so many invitations to serenity? Coffee-drenched ladyfingers the crowning glory of luscious Tiramisu; cool Panna Cotta like a smooth, velvety café au lait; espresso-drunk chocolate genoise, dense and moist, the perfect backdrop for a rich mocha frosting; a nutty layer of meringue kissed by the earthy fragrance of the bean, the perfect, crispy, lightest of dacquoise, cradling froths of cream like an edible, ethereal cappuccino… My pleasure, my weakness, my downfall… Do I, one must ask, break more easily under the temptation of chocolate or coffee? Coffee or chocolate? Chocolate, I must admit when pressed just a bit too adamantly, was my first love, seducing me oh so easily with that first taste. My knees still go weak, my heart pounds, my tastebuds tingle to life when the exhilarating, inebriating odor encircles my senses, that first sensation as it touches my lips, my tongue, whether dark or light, crispy, crunchy, gooey, or smooth it knocks me over and I am enslaved. Yet, yet… coffee is my very adult addiction, learning to love the provocative brew as I stood on the threshold of womanhood, discovering the two as one and I was moved to intoxication.

Riz au Lait is a simple, homey favorite reminiscent of childhood and nursery, the verdant French countryside and afternoons curled up in front of a roaring fire with a good book, comfort food at its best. Espresso kicks it up a notch, giving an adult twist to an old treasured family treat. Make it creamy and just sweet enough and the fascination takes hold, my subjugation to this magical potion complete.


CAFÉ LATTE RIZ AU LAIT
Coffee-Flavored Rice Pudding for 6 to 8

7 oz (200 g) uncooked rice for risotto or pudding
3 ½ cups (850 ml) whole milk or half low-fat milk + half light or heavy cream
½ cup (100 g) sugar or to taste
1 Tbs + 1 tsp (about 5 g) instant powdered espresso
1 vanilla bean
Pinch of salt
1 Tbs (15 g) unsalted butter

Place the rice in a colander with tiny holes (so as not to lose any rice out the bottom!) and rinse under running water until the water runs clear. Drain.

Place the rinsed rice in a saucepan and cover generously with water; bring the water to a boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Drain the rice.

Return the drained rice to a medium-sized saucepan with the whole milk (or half low-fat milk and half cream), 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the espresso powder and a pinch of salt. Using a small, sharp knife split the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out all of the seeds. Add both the seeds and the pod to the other ingredients in the saucepan. Bring it just up to the boil and then immediately turn the heat down to very low and, placing a cover atop the saucepan but leaving it ajar, allow the pudding to simmer, stirring very often, for 30 to 35 minutes or until the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid. The rice should be very soft almost melting in the mouth, not al dente. The pudding should be creamy, neither runny nor dry.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and remove and discard the vanilla bean pod. Stir in the tablespoon of butter and about 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar. Taste and add as much of the remaining sugar until desired sweetness. Spoon into individual serving dishes, glasses or bowls.

Top with heavy cream, either a drizzle or a dollop of whipped. Dust with a tad of cocoa powder.

Riz au Lait is best eaten warm but this particular pudding is delicious at room temperature and even stays creamy when chilled (if, for example, there are any leftovers).


And for CAFFÉ CORRETTO RIZ AU LAIT, simply stir in a tablespoon or two (or three) of Amaretto or coffee-flavored liqueur at the end of cooking to taste.


40 comments:

Farmgirl Gourmet said...

Wow...this I have to try! Looks fantastic!

xo
Heather

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great flavor! That rice pudding must taste just heavenly.

I've always loved coffee and developped my addiction for this beverage at high school. ;-P

Cheers,

Rosa

girlichef said...

This is so simple, yet so beautiful, I love this version. While we eat lots of variations of rice pudding at our house, we haven't tried this. I know what's next!

Eggs on the Roof said...

Rice pudding has mythic status for me - my Granny, who was glamorous, giggly and always wore high heels, made one every single day. But a coffee version? Sensational. She would have adored it too. A wonderful idea, Jamie.

Astrid said...

I never thought of flavoring my rice pudding with coffee but it sounds like a pretty nice idea ;)
Love it!

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

This indeed made me chuckle. I remember hating coffee but all things coffee flavored too. One day I tried a good cup of coffee and life forever changed. The difference? Maybe it was my mom making coffee from a can with already ground beans? There is no doubt that Starbucks helped and started my love of coffee journey!

I am not a rice pudding fan but you have me sorely tempted, yes you do.

A Spoonful of Yumm said...

coffee & rice ?! never had this....now i have to ! looks so delicious :D

anneliesz said...

Jamie- I became a fan of iced coffee early on. Milky and sweet, it was a treat. Your coffee rice pudding is a winner. Yum!

Junglefrog said...

I totally love coffee and I totally love ricepudding but... I have this thing when it comes to coffee in my food; it just doesn't work for me... Is that weird? This does sound yum, but I just know myself...

Fresh Local and Best said...

I used to steal sips from my mom's Vietnamese iced coffee too! I would have never thought of the combination, it must be so comforting!

Sunchowder said...

I love the look of this pudding, so going to make it!!! I too did not drink coffee until I was out of the house, my Mom also loved Ice Coffee, but she NEVER put sugar in it :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I was the same Jamie! I used to covet iced coffee, especially those milk drinks flavoured with coffee. I don't really drink coffee much anymore but I love things flavoured with it! :D

JavelinWarrior said...

I must admit, even as adult, I can't tollerate coffee. I like all kinds of things flavored with coffee and iced coffee isn't too terrible. But the hot brew I refuse to touch ;)

But coffee-flavored rice pudding? Now that sounds delightful!

Carolyn Jung said...

Coffee rice pudding? Wow, that sounds incredible. I've loved coffee ever since I first drank it in college to stay awake for studying. ;)

Baker Street said...

Delicious! I have to try this! A coffee dessert is just the perfect way to end a meal!

WiseMóna said...

Jamie,
When you come to visit I want you to make this for my little boy. He would live on a steady diet of rice pudding. I have never made it using risotto rice and I'll bet it makes it so much 'bigger' in texture and flavour.
AND, I love coffee but let me tell you even the thoughts of smelling anything 'coffee flavoured' makes me gag. I can't go there. The Chef makes iced coffee with condensed milk . . I think we could use this for the rice pudding :0) ..... Happy hump day!

shaz said...

I used to hate coffee, until I met my husband and woke up every day to the smell of coffee percolating on the stove top. The smell is so enticing I've ended up becoming an addict! Lovely idea to add it to rice pudding, yum.

Sanjeeta kk said...

Now I can relate to your Tweet about 'coffee post'. You come out with such amazing combos..can never think beyond cardamom to flavor my rice desserts :)

Shulie said...

I would never have thought of coffee rice pudding. I like the pairing Jamie. Looks delicious! I don't know was it that I started drinking coffee?! I think my first instinct was to dislike it but when was the turning point is a mystery to me.

Vibey said...

I'm putting my hand up for the corretto! Heaven!

Jamie said...

@Vibey: HA HA HA HA love it!

Laurel said...

Sounds yummy! I love your pictures. They always make me smile! Thank you.

Aimée @ Food: Je t'Aimée said...

Ahhhhh... the perfect marriage of two things that make me ridiculously happy! Swoon!

I love tea. I drink tea all the time. But whenever I've tried to drink 'only' tea, I just can't do it. (Coffee, you vixen!) I don't need to have a pot a day, but absolutely nothing can replace that first cup in the morning. So I've stopped trying.

And is there anything softer, more comforting than rice pudding? Really? It's like a fluffy blanket in food form.

Will absolutely be trying this recipe.

And - as always - superb, thought-provoking, and inspiring writing Jamie. xo

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

So much more elegant than the plain rice pudding of my youth! Coffee for me is nice to have, tea is essential!

domenicacooks said...

Jamie, I love love love this idea. Reading your post brought me back to my childhood summers in Italy. There was a gelateria right around the corner from my aunts' house in Rome. After dinner we would all stroll around the block and eventually stop there. My favorite thing to get was granita di caffe con panna. I am a coffee fiend and the coffee ice at that little place was the best. My other childhood coffee indulgence was when my mother or one of my aunts would take a tiny spoonful of espresso and drop it into the sugar bowl, then roll it around so that the drop of coffee was completely coated in sugar. One drop for me, one for my sister. It's no wonder I love coffee so much. I must try your coffee-spiked rice pudding.

Cake Duchess said...

I'm not a rice pudding person normally...but I am a coffee person and this I know I would love to try. I feel that my subjugation to the magical potion would also be complete with a bowl of your riz au lait:)

Lisa said...

Wow..I had a similar experience as you, except when I tasted my Mom's iced coffee when she wasn't looking, I grimaced. I'm of the minority, I never liked coffee. The only time I drank it was in college when I had to stay up to finish a paper or study for an exam. I took it black, strong, no sugar *no amount of sugar and cream ever changed my opinion of it* and practically guzzled it with my nasal cavities closed, just to reap the effects from the caffeine,like a shot of tequila (I don't really drink either, outside of the occasional glass of wine with dinner). However, I do like coffee in some baked goods and desserts. I would demolish a whole saucepan of your Cafe Latte Au Riz Lait without any manners or shame. It looks and sounds 'that' good. :) Great read as always!

Deeba PAB said...

They don't call us twin sistahs for nothing Jamie. Gosh, am bewitched. That dark bitter brew tempts me no end, and this is something I wouldn't have dreamt of. WOW...you know me; coffee and me are inseparable! Beam me in sistah...it's calling my name out LOUD!

Alexis Removal said...

I must try this as soon as possible because it looks amazing! I will surprise my friends tomorrow night!

Priscilla - She's Cookin' said...

Now I'm hungry. Coffee flavored rice pudding sounds amazing, but I'd have to use decaf :) Love the vintage advertising photo!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Oh how I adore rice puddings and Soeren has that from me for sure. I make it in all sorts of versions but this is taking my childhood treat and making it so elegant and grown up. Love it!

lisaiscooking said...

I never really liked the taste of coffee until recently. Still, I don't drink regular coffee. For caffeine, I mostly turn to tea, but on weekends, I love a good cappuccino. Piping hot! And, I love the idea of a coffee rice pudding.

Lana said...

Chocolate or Coffee? Can I vote for Mocha? Love them both, but I would also opt for chocolate, even though we grew up, like many Europeans, on cafe au lait before school. There are few dishes that scream comfort food for me like creamy rice pudding. Adding coffee can make it only more comforting.
(BTW, I love the word "veritable")!

Chocolate Shavings said...

I adore coffee-infused desserts too and this looks like the perfect one!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I love strong dark coffee too. Your rice pudding must taste fabulous for coffee lovers everywhere.
Sam

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I love strong dark coffee too. Your rice pudding must taste fabulous for coffee lovers everywhere.
Sam

lactobacillus said...

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Fuji Mama said...

I love that you started this post with the word bewitched, because that's exactly what I was by the time I ended reading it!!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

Ha, I'm laughing at this "this veritable need for my liquid to be hotter than hot is genetic somehow" seems we have that tendency in common. My husband always complains I eat and drink my foods too hot, I am fairly certain I inherited this trait from my mother who is the same way.

Nuts about food said...

Iremember always wanting to taste coffee flavored yogurt as a child and never being allowed to. Then when I was finally allowed to have coffee, it just wasn't as good as it looked. The only way I could drink it was with lots of sugar. My mother used to comment how much she disliked sweet coffee. Over the past years I have started lowering my dose and now I use just about as much as you do. And I agree, it has to be scortching.

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