What does a world renowned chef and reigning king of haute cuisine serve for dessert at his 3-star Michelin restaurant in the heart of Paris? What follows a gastronomic feast filled with black truffles, veal kidneys, foie gras and fromage where the average bill weighs in at $1500 for two? Apparently, from what I’ve read in review after review, that feast also includes a bread sommelier. A bread steward whose sole purpose in life, is to ensure you select the proper bread, from the dozen or so breads baked fresh in-house, to be paired with your course. No Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
After such royal treatment, I’d imagine dessert would have to be the bee’s knees. An urban legend filled with secret ingredients. Sacred vows of confidentiality. Some fancy French pastry crust no one could ever replicate, coupled with an even fancier French fruit filling. A dessert that took scores of Europe’s top pastry chefs centuries to conjure up and perfect. It turns out, nothing could be further from the truth. As described in his book, Guy Savoy, decides instead, to go with something he claims took him 30 years to muster up enough nerve to feature on his dessert menu. Something he touts that, for him, is “par excellence”. The minute I read this , I knew I had to try making Guy’s Rice Pudding.
Five simple ingredients, which you probably have sitting in your kitchen right now, is all it takes. A saucepan and a wooden spoon. A little scraping, a little stirring and less than an hour later – Voilà! C’est fini. For me, the best part of making this rice pudding, besides its sheer simplicity, was being swathed in the vanilla infused steam that rose steadily from the saucepan. Ahhhhhh…..one of the best home facials I’ve ever had. Guy writes that he likes to serve his rice pudding at room temperature, but I actually prefer mine warm. It’s not too sweet, ohhh sooo creamy, and an economical way to dream up a (teeny) tiny taste of dinner at Guy Savoy’s.
Tweaked from Guy Savoy, Simple French Recipes for the Home Cook, serves 4
Music Pairing: Eartha Kitt, C’est si bon
1/2 cup short-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream or half and half
2 vanilla beans
1/4 cup sugar
Place rice in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and drain into a strainer.
Return rice to the pan. Add milk and cream. Split vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds with the tip of a paring knife. Add pods and seeds to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Stir in sugar and simmer for 10 more minutes. Pour the rice pudding into a small serving bowl, discarding vanilla beans. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve the pudding at room temperature.