Vanilla Rice Pudding with Roasted Rhubarb

I finally shook off the travel dust last week. I am settled back into home. I have been taking long walks with my girls - Martini and Latte, enjoying spring in Seattle, and started back in on my urban hikes. One of the many stairs I climb on some of my urban hikes. I waited until the people around subsided to snap this. So pretty and tranquil if you ask me.

If you are wondering what an urban hike is I will tell you. It is just what it sounds like; it is a steady pace I take walking across the city. I know that there are many hiking trails at the parks and in the outlining areas of the city. But due to my work schedule, my hours are off from most I know. I do not like hiking on my own out on a trail in seclusion, there is a bit of an unsafe feeling about it. Maybe that is because I am a female? Either way hiking across the city has just as much appeal. I take different routes depending on the day. I walk along the water, climb steep hills, go up and down stairs, run through different neighborhoods, and admire the city. Within an hour I do about 4 miles, and there are always people around.

Getting everything together to maKe some great Vanilla Rice PUDDING.

The other day when I got home from work and before I went for a hike I started a batch of Vanilla Rice Pudding. I will confess that I never made a rice pudding I liked; that is until this past year. While traveling in January I picked up The Best of 2015 - America’s Test Kitchen magazine to read on the plane. In it was a detailed recipe of Rice Pudding. I had to give it a try, because anything from American’s Test Kitchen I completely and totally trust. I have made it three times since then and it is perfect. This time I wanted to serve it with Roasted Rhubarb I had in mind, not to mention I had some left in the refrigerator -  a match made in heaven!

Vanilla Rice Pudding cooling.

Once the rice pudding was made and cooling I went on an urban hike, walked my girls, and started in on dinner. Once Brian was home we enjoyed our dinner, but as a surprise I presented him with the rice pudding. Just like the times I have tried this recipe previously, it had a great vanilla flavor and was super creamy with a great texture. When it was paired with the tart and sweet roasted rhubarb the flavor paring and textures were wonderful. Eating a dessert this delicious makes me glad I did a hike. I mean it is so good it is hard to just have once serving. I wish rhubarb season would never end, so I can always eat the rice pudding just like this. Thank you America’s Test Kitchen, you have debunked my rice pudding ways and opened my eyes to how gloriously simple a great rice pudding can be.

All ready to dive in on a great dessert.

Vanilla Rice Pudding (serves 6)

6 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup long grain white rice (I used Jasmine)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

First, combine 5 1/2 cups milk, sugar, and salt in a large heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat.

Next, stir in your rice and reduce the heat to low. Cook it at a gentle simmer adjusting the heat as needed. Be sure to stir it often. You want to prevent scorching, and you want to simmer it until  the rice is soft. It will thicken at this point as well, almost to the consistency of yogurt. (About 50 minutes to and hour.) Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Finally, transfer the pudding to a large bowl and let it cool about 1 - 2 hours before refrigerating. Refrigerate it until chilled, and before serving stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of milk.

Rhubarb - roasted and cooling fresh out of the oven.

Roasted Rhubarb (makes about 1 pint)

4 - 5 long rhubarb stalks; trimmed and sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp ground cardamon

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup water

1 tsp butter

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl toss together your sugar, cardamon, and cinnamon. Take a 9-10 inch baking dish or pie pan and butter it generously.

Next, take your rhubarb and toss it in with your sugar mix. To this mixture add your water and vanilla and mix well. Pour it into your prepared pan and be sure your rhubarb is evenly distributed.

Finally, place in the center of your oven to roast for about 30-45 minutes; stirring it half way. You  are looking for the rhubarb to be tender. Once tender remove from the oven to cool. Best to serve at room temperature, but can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up tp a week.

Raspberry and Rhubarb French Tart

I ate a brownie the other day. I admit, that it was everything that I thought it would be: soft, chewy, moist, and had a deep chocolatey flavor. I ate a third of it and found myself wrapping it back up because I wanted to savor the rest of it and make it last. On a recent trip, while trekking though a terminal to catch my next flight, I stopped and grabbed a salad and that brownie. Somewhere over the mid western states I finished the rest of that brownie…I made it last and it got me through the last hour and a half of travel without my belly rumbling. Always roll out dough in the shape of your pan. This helps forming the dough to the pan without patching.

I should confess that as I hurried to eat my salad before my next flight boarded I started to think: Could it be that airport food improved - this salad is quite good?!? Then, I grabbed a coffee as I was back at the airport heading home to Seattle and it was terrible. Maybe there have only been small improvements where airport food is concerned? Either way, I am ready to be home. I miss my husband, I miss my dogs, I miss my everyday life.

By letting the fruit sit within the sugar allows the tartness of the rhubarb to mellow out.

I was talking with my husband the night I was packing to leave on this trip and he asked if I was putting the tart recipe I recently made on here. I told him it was just an average recipe, but he assured me that there was nothing average about something that tastes really good. You see, I have been making these tarts for years. It is one of those effortlessly recipes that you can always whip together and serve. You can alway change up the fruit you fill it with, and if you have cold butter and flour on hand the crust is just your basic pate brise that you can make within minutes - probably why I always have some in the refrigerator or freezer.

All ready to bake.

A couple of weeks ago we had some friends over for dinner and I made a Raspberry and Rhubarb French Tart for dessert. We were having pizzas and I wanted a straight forward, simple, no fuss dessert to accompany it. This fruit tart is light and tasty without being heavy on the palette. It pairs well with just about any meal really. I am thinking that If the rhubarb I still had on hand before I left is still good I will be making it again once I am home. I love baking something once I am home. It makes everything seem right in the world and the nice aroma always shakes the “travel dust” off.

Raspberry and Rhubarb French Tart Fresh out of the oven.

Raspberry and Rhubarb French Tart (makes one 9 inch tart)

(*Note - For this tart I used a rectangular pan for the ease of cutting and serving easy pieces, but any round or square pan works well too,)

3 cups raspberry (fresh or frozen)

1 1/2 cups sliced rhubarb, about 1/2 - 1 inch pieces

2/3 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp of flour

1 tbsp of butter

1/2 batch of Pate Brise (tart/pie crust)

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll your dough out on a well floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. Try to roll it out to the shape of your tart pan. (This makes it easier when assembling.) Press the dough into your pan gently. Dock it with a fork or knife along the bottom and place the pan in the freezer to chill.

Next, in a bowl place your raspberries, rhubarb, sugar, honey, vanilla, and flour and toss it all together. Set it aside and let it macerate for 20-30 minutes.

Then, remove the tart pan from the freezer and place on a sheet pan. Gently, Pour the raspberry filling into the prepared tart pan. Be sure that the filling is level and even all the way across it. Place thin pieces of the 1 tbsp of butter across the top of the filling staying clear from the edges. Place in the oven for about 45 minutes rotating it half way through.

Finally, remove from the oven when the edges of the tart crust (pate brise) are golden and the filling is bubbly and reduced a bit. Let it cool about 15 minutes before removing the tart pan sides and serving. This can stay at room temperature for a couple of hours. If placing in the refrigerator wrap in foil, but before eating / serving be sure to bring it back to room temperature for it always tastes better that way.