Rifling through my cabinets this afternoon, trying to find something that might work for this post, I decided on earl grey tea. I’d seen recipes for earl grey truffles (which I still plan to make), and had tried them before, so I was thinking something with chocolate and tea. But chocolate anything seemed too predictable, so after throwing out the other contender–shortbread (that was yesterday), I went with this pudding as a way to kill two birds with one stone.
Arborio rice pudding has been on my list for a while as a way to overcome rice pudding that tasted so strongly of, well, rice. I used to like rice pudding, but I didn’t love it because the jasmine rice in our house was just so incredibly fragrant. Using pre-cooked rice worked well but wasn’t perfect. Seeing recipes for arborio rice pudding set me to consider the rice I loved in risotto.
Making successful rice pudding with tea I thought would be a long shot, but it worked. Having thought about chocolate as a pairing before, I feared the tea would take over to disastrous effect when there was nothing else vying with it for the place of honor. Yet my fears were misplaced. Tasting the pudding for the first time gave me such depth of flavor. The bergamot shone out, and the slightly sweet soy milk, with its own distinct taste, proved very little sugar necessary. Vanilla was nice, but not really needed, because of all the other notes already there.
Earl Grey Arborio Rice Pudding
1/2 cup arborio rice
2 cups plain soy milk
2 earl grey tea bags (I used Twinings)
1 Tablespoon sugar
a drop or two of vanilla (optional)
Place soy milk, rice, and tea bags (with paper tags removed, but strings attached) in a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat, simmering for about 15 minutes and stirring almost constantly with a wooden spoon. The wooden spoon isn’t crucial but I used knowing it was preferred in risotto because it keeps the individual grains from breaking up. Off the heat, remove the tea bags and stir in sugar and optional vanilla. Best served warm. It will thicken substantially if cold.