rice pudding

Nearly all of the desserts in Paris were extremely ornate, with pretty colors and artful boops to the nines. Eye candy was everywhere, and it was an essential part of the storybook fantasylandness that is Paris. The eclairs were tiny edible sculptures, the cream puffs were like oversized jewels, and many of the macarons were dusted with gold. The one dessert that left the biggest impression on me, however, was the ugliest: rice pudding! We had it for dessert at L’Ami Jean, where it was spooned into a large bowl over ice cream and crunchies, and then again the next night at Chez Georges, where it was loosey goosey and outstandingly velvety. On the second night, I just could not stop eating it.

Rice pudding grossed me out in my childhood. I loved standard chocolate and vanilla pudding cups so much, especially when they came in Lunchables, but every time I’d go to the store with my mom and make my pudding selection, I felt almost violated by the fact that rice pudding invaded my line of vision when I was just trying to look at the other pudding. The same way I currently feel if I ever have to go past the bananas on the way to the apples. It was all about the texture with rice pudding: why was it caviary and translucent? Why did it look like little eyeballs? Why did it have to be that way and what was wrong with regular pudding?

In my old age, I’ve come to appreciate the textural structure of rice in a pudding. I like chewing my pudding. It’s not scary anymore, it’s just rice, and it’s not like it’s cottage cheese or anything. The rice pudding in Paris wasn’t the first time I’ve had it and enjoyed it, but it was the first time I truly became inspired to make it. Not only was I enchanted by the texture and flavor, but I was also super into how appropriate it was for after a big dinner. Not too heavy, not too sweet, it was an A+ ending bite. And it kind of embodied that effortlessly classy and cool vibe that is basically every Parisian woman. I liked that it came in a big communal bowl without fanfare or garnish, it was a confident dessert.

When I got home I learned how easy it was to make and how it’s magic. You don’t need cornstarch or gelatin, it just thickens with the starch from the rice. At a minimum, you can make it simply by boiling rice in milk and adding sugar. I was inspired by the creaminess of the Chez Georges rice pudding to add a little heavy cream, and then by Jessica Battilana’s recipe to add richness via an egg yolk. To flavor it, I recommend vanilla bean, lemon zest, and either rosewater or a dusting of tonka bean, which gives it a beautiful flavor that’s a cross between cinnamon and vanilla. Tonka beans are illegal in the United States since you can die if you eat like dozens of them but you only ever use a few passes over the microplane at a time. Eating dozens of them would be like eating dozens of nutmeg seeds, ew. And they’re legal pretty much everywhere else, even Canada, so it’s silly that they’re illegal here. I’m not advocating you go and smuggle some into the country but if you bought some in Paris and accidentally forgot about them in your suitcase on the way home then use them for this.

Lastly, I am serving this pudding over Bonne Maman’s very special edition raspberry, strawberry, and elderflower preserves. I love it and its beautiful jar so much. Bonne Maman released it on the occasion of their pop-up boat party in Paris last month, so you can’t actually buy it… but… I'm giving away four jars this week on Instagram! So head over there to win one. Really you can’t go wrong with any preserves in this recipe here. Raspberry or strawberry would be perfect with rosewater rice pudding, or swap out the lemon zest for orange zest in the mixture and serve it over orange preserves. The world is your rice pudding oyster!


rice pudding

serves 6-8

Ingredients

3 1/4 c  whole milk

1/2 c (100g) arborio or medium grain white rice 

1 vanilla bean

1/4 c heavy cream, plus more if desired

1 egg yolk

1/4 c (50g) sugar

1/4 tsp salt

A few passes of tonka bean, optional

1/4 tsp rosewater, optional

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Bonne Maman preserves, for serving

Pistachios, sprinkles, candied rose petals, optional, for serving

clues

In a medium pot, combine milk, rice, and vanilla and bring to a simmer over medium high. Simmer, uncovered, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes, until rice is soft. Reduce heat if it creeps above a simmer. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolk and heavy cream. Drizzle in 1/2 cup of the hot rice mixture while whisking very quickly, then slowly drizzle this into the pot while whisking. Add sugar and continue to whisk and cook for 2 more minutes, or until the texture is porridge like. Remove from heat and stir in salt, tonka (if using), rosewater (if using), and lemon zest. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cooled. Pudding will continue to thicken as it cools.

To serve, spoon preserves into the bottom of a glass and top with rice pudding and sprinkle things of choice. If you’d like your rice pudding on the looser side, you can stir in another splash of heavy cream.

-yeh!

Thank you, Bonne Maman, for sponsoring this post!

Photos by Chantell and Brett!

Vanilla Butter Cake with Marzipan Buttercream

This is the layer cake version of the mega moist/buttery vanilla cupcakes that I posted this summer! I’ve altered the ratios just slightly from the cupcakes here in order to provide the stability in the batter necessary to hold up a full layer, and it took a zillion test runs, but I’m proud to say that it retains the lusciousness that I was so pleased with in those cupcakes. It’s perfectly vanilla-y and just sooo… whatever the opposite is of those wildly airy grocery store sheet cakes. (Not (!) that there isn’t a time and place for those.) But Eggpop and I share a particular love of two important things: rom coms and very dense cake.

And such a hard earned cake is worthy of an equally lush frosting, no?

Marzipan buttercream is not an idea that I can take credit for, even though I’d like to since, as we’ve already established, my body is made up of 1/2 marzipan around the holidays. Alaina, who I met at my very first Molly on the Range book tour event, made the cutest ever cake earlier this year and added the marzipan butter from MOTR (which is essentially your basic ingredients for marzipan, blanched almonds and sugar, blended into oblivion until silky and spreadable) to the frosting. Brilliant!!!!!! Right??? I immediately knew I had to try it with my favorite go-to buttercream and the results were as I expected: otherworldly. Almondy, buttery, sweet, the best. You know I love a good rustic nut butter frosting, but using a blanched nut butter here makes this frosting so smooth and dreamy. I mean, marzipan on its own is obviously the best thing ever, but how do you make the best thing ever even better? Add butter. Duhhh.

And obviously if you are going to bestow the name “marzipan” onto any type of frosting, you are going to use great butter for it. Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter is what I’m using here and its flavor is so good and pure that if there’s any butter who deserves to be mashed up with marzipan, it is this. And then, rather than making the full marzipan butter recipe (which you can find in Alaina’s post and which also makes a great little gift when put in a cute jar) before adding it to my buttercream, I’ve rearranged the ingredients a bit to make things a little more straightforward and to take it easy on your food processor since it’s already getting quite a workout making the blanched almond butter. 

The decorations here are inspired by embroidery again, just like these cookies! I referenced these awesome trees and then here is a video that goes more in depth with the decorating process:


vanilla butter cake with marzipan buttercream

Makes one 3-layer 8” cake

ingredients

3 1/2 c (450g) all-purpose flour

1 tb baking powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/4 c (300g) heavy cream, room temperature

1/2 c (120g) sour cream, room temperature

1 c (225g) Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, room temperature

1/2 c (100g) refined coconut oil, soft but not melted

2 1/4 c (450g) sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 tb vanilla bean paste or extract

1/2 tsp almond extract, optional

 

Buttercream:

1 c (128g) blanched almonds

1 c (225g) Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, room temperature

5 c (600g) powdered sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

1 tsp almond extract, optional

3 tb (45g) heavy cream

clues

To make the cake layers: preheat the oven to 350ºf. Grease and line the bottoms of three 8” cake pans with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder, and then lightly stir in the salt and set aside. in a large measuring cup, whisk together the heavy cream and sour cream and set aside. 

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, coconut oil, and sugar on medium high for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add the vanilla and almond extract, if using. Reduce the mixer to medium low and add the dry mixture and cream mixture in 3 alternating additions, mixing until just combined. Distribute the batter evenly between the cake pans and spread it out evenly.

Bake until the  tops of the cakes are thinking about starting to turn brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs on it; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes and try your darnedest not to let it overbake. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the buttercream: 

First, make the almond butter. In a high powered food processor, blend the almonds, scraping the sides occasionally, until very creamy and spreadable, about 5-10 minutes.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and almond butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, and then mix in the salt, vanilla, almond extract, and heavy cream. Mix until creamy.

To frost the cake, level the top of the layers and then stack them up with a layer of frosting in between. Frost all over and decorate as desired (See video!)! Enjoy!


-yeh!

Thank you so much to Land O’Lakes for providing me with the butter and heavy cream for all of my cake baking adventures and for sponsoring this post. Their European style butter is so gosh darn rich and perfect for buttercream.

Videography by Paul Hoplin!

classic cookie salad

I’ve been watching so many '60s period dramas that dressing up to make cookie salad felt like a fun thing to do. And it totally was! I figured since we had so much fun with classic tater tot hotdish, it was also time to make another classically upper Midwestern delicacy, the cookie salad. Cookie salad blows the other upper Midwest sweet salads, like candy bar salad, out of the water. Easily. It’s not like hotdish, where wild rice and tater tot would definitely make for an edge-of-your-seat 7-game neck-and-neck series. It’s truly more like a UND hockey team versus every team in their conference situation, where they are just in an entirely different league and there are fireworks at every game. 

A typical cookie salad consists of the following things:

Fudge stripe cookies 

Canned Mandarin oranges or sliced bananas

Vanilla instant pudding mix stirred into buttermilk

frozen whip

They all get mixed together into a fluffy puddingy dessert and then topped with crushed cookies or cookies broken in half and stuck on top to look like little tombstones. This is an important distinction. Your family either crushes or breaks and there’s not a whole lot of overlap except for now because Eggmom crushes and look, I break. I just like the aesthetic, ok? Eggmom taught me both though. She also taught me that mini marshmallows and jelly beans are acceptable mix-ins (I love the textural sensation that marshmallows add).

And,

Ok,

Here is where things get a little…different: Eggmom serves this with the main course. And so does everyone else!!!!! I thought I was hearing things when she said she serves it with the ham (!!!!) but as I dug further and further it slowly became clear that this. is. actually. served. with. the. salads. and. not. the. desserts. 

This is a next level sweet/savory relationship, right???? 

If ham and cookie salad can work as a marriage then surely we aren’t all doomed.

I present to you, my audition picture for women laughing alone with salad:

On my journey to a homemade cookie salad, I did the following:

Made homemade fudge stripes! I went with a simple buttery shortbread that’s sweet and crispy and has a hint of almond. And rather than dealing with the mess of getting chocolate on the bottom, like regular fudge stripes, I gave them thicker-than-usual stripes on top. 

In place of the pudding + buttermilk combo, I experimented a bit with making homemade buttermilk pudding but found the buttermilk to be just too sour for my tastes. I don’t remember it being this sour when Eggmom made me hers. I wonder if something in the instant pudding packets offsets the sourness of buttermilk. Instead I went with a rich vanilla pastry cream.

And instead of frozen whip I obviously went with a good old fresh whip because duh. I’ve always been a sucker for fresh whip, it is the heavy cream at its best. I’m using Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream here which has a deliciously pure flavor. 

I stuck with the canned mandarins for this but you could definitely go with fresh mandarins as well. 

Lastly, here is a pro-tip: make this the day before so the cookies soak in the pudding and take on a cake-like texture. It is so satisfying. I love it forever. And of course the fact that this can be prepped a day (or even two days!) ahead of time makes this a perfect Thanksgiving dessert. I mean salad! Omg. 


Classic Cookie Salad

Serves 8

ingredients

For the pudding

3 tb (24g) all-purpose flour

6 tb (75g) sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 c (360g) Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

 

For the cookies

1 1/4 c (159g) all-purpose flour, more for dusting

1/2 c (60g) powdered sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract 

1/2 tsp almond extract 

1/2 c (113g) Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, cold and cubed

5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

For assembly

1 1/2 c (360g) Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 c (30g) powdered sugar

2 (11 oz) cans mandarin orange slices

Sprinkles, optional

Clues

To make the pudding, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the egg yolks and then the heavy cream. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until it’s thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, pour into a heat safe bowl, and cover with plastic wrap so that it touches the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate until cooled, about 1 hour or overnight. 

To make the cookies, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer running on low, add the vanilla and almond extracts and then gradually add the butter. Mix until the mixture comes together into a dough, slowly increasing the speed once you’re confident that doing so won’t result in flour flying everywhere. Divide the dough in half, press into discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. (If you’re impatient, fine, skip this step.)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8”-1/4” thick. Cut out 2” circles with a biscuit cutter and then use a big piping tip to cut out 1/2” holes from the center. (Re-roll scraps as needed.) Place them on the baking sheets an inch apart and then bake until they’re jusssst starting to brown around the edges, start checking for doneness at 12 minutes. Let cool on the pans. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each. Let it cool slightly and then pour it into a piping bag. Snip off the tip and then pipe on 4 thick chocolate stripes. Let the chocolate harden at room temp or in the fridge.

To assemble, first make the whipped cream. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream and powdered sugar to stiff peaks. In a large bowl, fold together the whipped cream and pudding. Crush the cookies by hand or in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin or other blunt object (reserving 6-8 for the topping) and fold them in. Drain the mandarin slices and fold those in (reserve some of these for the topping too). Top with remaining cookies, mandarin slices, and sprinkles. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. 

-yeh!

thanks to land o’lakes for sponsoring this post!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

PI(E) DAY

pi day is for jewish mothers and mathletes-in-past-lives to expose themselves shamelessly over {in descending order from favorite to least favorite}:

a) homemade (better than the real thing) momofuku crack pie
c) eggpie (or, quiche)
e) gluten-free/sugar-free/eggboy-friendly sweet potato pie

ad-lib talk of ponies, percussions, and many other things brought to us by the letter "p."

-yeh!!