Cardamom Rice Pudding with Pistachios and Caramel may not be the same as the classic comfort food you grew up with, but this elegant take makes for a very sophisticated dessert.
This can be made in one large serving vessel or divided into individual servings before topping with caramel.
- 1 3/4 cup heavy cream (divided)
- ¼ cup Aborio rice
- kosher salt (as needed)
- 3/4 cup whole milk (divided)
- ½ vanilla bean (split lengthwise)
- 10 cardamom pods (lighly crushed)
- 1 cup (plus 2 tablespoon) granulated sugar
- 2 sheets gelatin (about 4 grams, soaked in cold water until softened)
- ½ cup water (divided, plus more for rice)
- 1 pinch sea salt
- pistachios (finely chopped, as needed for garnish)
Make the rice pudding: Using a whisk and a well-chilled bowl whip ½ cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Combine rice, salt and enough water to cover the rice by about ½‑inch in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Bring just to a boil, then strain the rice in a fine-mesh sieve. Return the rice to the same saucepan, add milk, vanilla bean, cardamom pods, 2 tablespoons sugar, and another ½ cup heavy cream. Set the mixture over low heat and cook until rice is al dente and the liquid is reduced by half, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat, add the gelatin sheets and set aside to cool completely. Push the mixture through a fine meshed sieve into a medium bowl to remove the cardamom pods and vanilla bean, then gently fold in the chilled whipped cream. Divide the pudding between 8 individual serving vessels. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator. The rice pudding can be made to this point up to 24 hours in advance before assembly.
Make the caramel sauce: Combine the remaining 1 cup sugar and ¼ cup of the water in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved. Raise the heat to medium and cook without stirring until the syrup turns a rich caramel color. Remove the pan from the heat add the remaining ¼ cup water, 3/4 cup cream and sea salt. It may splatter so please be careful. Transfer to a small pitcher and set aside to cool completely.
To serve: Bring the pudding from the refrigerator. Gently pour enough caramel sauce to cover the surface (or to taste). Garnish with pistachios.