If you came here for a recipe for those polystyrene slabs masquerading as healthy snacks, you've been sorely misinformed. Health food, this is not; rather, it's more like a cross between rice pudding and cake. I saw the Two Greedy Italians make their version on TV last year and put it on my list of 'things to try'. It's naturally gluten free and so temptingly delicious that I felt obliged to pass it on to you. Forced rhubarb is in season right now and, since I love stewed rhubarb stirred into rice pudding (and porridge, yoghurt, custard, potatoes...) it seemed like the perfect addition to a properly comforting dessert.
- 700ml milk
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or good vanilla extract)
- zest of an orange, half in large pieces, the other half finely chopped or grated
- 120g arborio rice
- 75g brown sugar
- 150g forced rhubarb, cut into 1cm pieces
- 2 large eggs, separated
- Bring the milk, vanilla extract and large pieces of orange zest to the boil and add the rice. Turn the heat down and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, fish out the orange zest and leave the rice pudding to cool. Don't worry if it looks a bit runny at the moment, the rice will continue to absorb the milk as it cools.
- Put the rhubarb and sugar in a pan with 2 tbsp water and simmer gently, lid on, until the rhubarb is tender. Leave to cool.
- When everything has cooled, strain the rhubarb and add the syrupy juices to the egg yolks and beat well. Add the rice pudding, the rest of the rhubarb and the finely chopped zest and stir to combine everything.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they're stiff and add about a third of them to the rice pudding and stir in to loosen the mixture. Now gently fold the rest of the whites in until they are completely incorporated.
- Carefully pour the mix into a greased and lined 20cm cake tin and bake for 45 minutes at 180°C. It's ready when a toothpick comes out of the centre cleanly.
- Leave it to cool a little in the tin (until the edges start to come away from the sides of the tin) before turning out on to a plate. If you want to dust it with a little icing sugar (for fanciness) wait until it's completely cool first.