Basic Cooking Instructions
Before getting your pots out of the cupboard, please take a couple of minutes to read through and familiarize yourself with my basic cooking instructions. They will help you to make your first batch of fruit rice pudding easily and effortlessly. I also recommend that everyone take a quick peak at my Basic Ingredients post as well, before getting started.
In their simplest form, my rice puddings consist of cooking Calrose rice in one pot and cooking the fruit sauce in a second pot. Ideally, both pots should have a cover.
I have whittled my recipes down to as small a batch size as I could. Each batch will provide between 7 to 9 individual servings. They will keep refrigerated for up to two weeks. They freeze really well too, as long as they are heated through once, after being frozen, either from a frozen state or a thawed state. For full information on how to thaw them successfully check out this separate post. Freezing & Thawing. In a frozen state, they will keep for months, as long as they are in a sealed freezer grade container.
Getting back to the cooking.... I always have the two pots: the rice and the sauce, cooking and hot, at the same time. I don't recommend cooking the rice and letting it cool. Because of it's natural stickiness, it will be hard to distribute evenly throughout the sauce, if it's cold, nor will it absorb the sauce properly. You could make the sauce ahead and reheat it at a later time, but you will need to adjust for the moisture and possible changes to fruit colour and texture.
The rice pot can be small, as we are dealing with small quantities of rice for these recipes. The 'sauce' pot will need to be about three times larger than the 'rice' pot. Once the sauce is cooked, and your rice is done cooking, the rice will be added to the sauce pot. To be able to mix in and distribute the rice properly and effortlessly, you want to ensure that you have adaquate room in the larger sauce pot, to blend it. I find that a wire whisk works very well to break up the cooked rice and incorporate it into the sauce. I will add some short video at a later date to demonstate how to easily blend the rice in, even if you don't have a wire whisk.
Some fruit and citrus often require extra steps in their preparation before the rice can be added in. If extra steps are required for a certain flavour, the recipe will explain what to do. Any extra sauce preparation always needs to be completed before the cooked rice is added to the sauce. If it's your first time making a flavour, I would even suggest doing the extra sauce prep before starting to cook the rice. Generally, the rice needs to be washed and rinsed 3 times. I usually use a small strainer, for this amount of rice, held over a bowl. The water can be run over the rice, which is submerged in the bowl, so as not to waste too much water. The bowl is also handy for catching any stray rice that jumps the side of the strainer. You don't need to wait in between rinses. Just rinse, drain, and repeat 2 more times.
It's best to get the sauce cooking, and the fruits processed before cooking the rice. If you are working with frozen fruits, they will take longer to thaw before they even start cooking. Frozen fruits can be thawed ahead of time, before starting to make your rice pudding. The one frozen fruit that I don't recommend thawing ahead is mango. If I'm using frozen mango chuncks, I always cook them from frozen. They tend to take on a yellow brownish hue when you add them thawed to your sauce. Once the fruits are fully cooked, I may recommend using an immersion blender to puree the fruits, before adding the remainder of the sauce ingredients. The sauce always needs to be fully cooked, and brought to a medium boil before reducing it to a simmer. Now you can add the cooked, hot rice and use your steel wire whisk to incorporate it into the sauce.
There are many other sauce preparations that I recommend such as removing seeds from raspberries and blackberries. There are many tea infusions and poached pear steps that I will outline in individual recipes. I will run through how to do candied beets or candied comquats, etc. for those flavours. Working with citrus will be a separate post of it's own. It's not because it's difficult, it's more in the interest of getting a clean, pure citrus taste out of the end result. I often remove a portion of the cooked fruit chunks, before blending the remainder of the fruits. I chop up the removed fruit into small pieces and then return it to the pureed fruit to add colour, interest and texture to the end result.
Once the hot incorporated fruit rice pudding is well mixed, it can be turned out into a food grade container. You can allow it to cool 15 or 20 minutes, covered, on the counter or cooling rack, before placing it in the fridge, covered, to fully cool. The cooling process allows the rice time to absorb more of the sauce and to continue cooking a little more. Once cooled, remove the pudding from the fridge and stir it well to get a consistent texture throughout. You can now enjoy it warm or cold. Likewise, you can now portion and package it to freeze for a later date.
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