When robust Portuguese wine meets smooth French rice pudding; only seasonal cherries could take this dessert over the top.
I confess. More than it is about sharing a new recipe; this post might just be an excuse to share with you my new obsession: Port Wine. Because after bringing me so much joy, this Portuguese paragon surely deserves its own article… Or better yet, a celebration!
I have been tremendously inspired (not to say totally swept off my feet) by my recent trip to Porto. This little, unassuming Portuguese city completely won my heart in the most unexpected way, and I have been left with a terrible urge to go back.
From Porto, I brought home a magnificent bottle of 10-year old Tawny Red (sounds so fancy, right?). The flagon quickly became my best friend and now accompanies all my dinners and TV-nights, while I reminisce about all the incredible food and drink we gorged on while we were there. And the other night, I even added a few splashes in my bowl of rice pudding … and here’s how the idea of this dessert came to life.
It surely is nothing complicated. So much so, that I am actually wondering if this falls under the label of a legit recipe or if I should just have come up with a story titled “I toss Port Wine in my food, am I wrong doctor ?”. Anyways…
So, just some classic, simple rice pudding – which I shared the recipe to, earlier this week – with handfuls of seasonal cherries preserved in Port wine.
Port wine Preserved cherries have such rich and deep color and flavour that they don’t need much around them to shine – Just like here, with a little bowl of rice pudding. Nothing complicated, but a true match made in heaven!
A vibrant marriage of flavours that also inspired me to try something a bit different for this recipe’s photo-shoot … I aimed for deeper tones and shadows, and vibrant contrasts of color – all in a somewhat rustic, authentic atmosphere. I wanted the final render to illustrate as much as possible the deep personality of this dish, with some much contrasted tangs, hues and origins. But which all, in the end, marry harmoniously into a very humble, but very flavourful dessert.
Note: Red Port wine can usually be found in any liquor store. For this recipe, I prefer a sweet, red wine (as opposed to a dry or semi-dry). The same recipe would also work very well with a white variety of Port wine and stone fruits such as apricots or peaches.
- 125 g of pudding rice (sushi rice or risotto rice works as well)
- 1.15 litre of milk (whole milk or 2% - avoid 1% or skimmed milk)
- 100 g sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split, or 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of sour cream
- 6 handfuls of cherries (equivalent of 10 cherries/handful/portion) – pitted and halved
- ½ cup red port wine
- Rinse the rice very well under cold water.
- In a large saucepan, stir together the milk, sugar and the “caviar” you scraped from the inside of the vanilla bean (or use vanilla extract), and bring to a boil. Then add the rice.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring once in a while with a whisk.
- Once the liquid is fully absorbed and the rice cooked (it should even feel overcooked), add the sour cream and mix. The final consistency should be very creamy.
- Let cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge. Serve it cold.
- At least 24 hours before serving, place the cherries in a medium jar (such as a mason jar), and pour the red port wine on top. The liquid should cover all of the cherries. Close the lid.
- Half-fill 6 ramequins with rice pudding and place the cherries on top. Add extra splashes of Port wine if desired.
- If the rice pudding is a bit dry and doughy at the end of the cooking time, mix in 1 or 2 tablespoons of cold milk, it will make it creamy once again.