I recently exchanged some cookbooks with a kind fellow foodblogger Melissa. One of the books I got on loan was Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé. The book is written by Dorie Greenspan and contains beautiful recipes & pictures of amazingly tempting desserts. It's definitely a gorgeous coffee table book - you can read the recipes, daydream over the photographs and almost satisfy your chocolate cravings by just imagining how the cakes, pastries, creams and puddings would taste like.
However tempting though, many of the desserts seem too much of an effort, involving usually quite a few separate steps and very long ingredient lists. Not really suitable for your easy midweek sweet. I'm convinced the desserts would be divine, but as my tastebuds are reasonably easily pleased with less effort as well, then most of Pierre Hermé's creations remain untackled by me at the moment. Maybe in the future, when I have more free time to play with my rolling pin and cookie cutters, I'll return to the book.
There are couple of interesting ideas (f. ex. Chocolate-Dipped Candied Mint Leaves as an alternative to After Eight mints) that I'll definitely keep in mind. And before I return the book to Melissa next week, I decided to try one of the more easy desserts: chocolate rice pudding.
Remember the rice pudding from your childhood? Well, according to the writers, this is
'Not your grandmother's rice pudding. Not even your mother's. This has all the cuddly, cozy warmth of a childhood dessert and all the sex appeal of a sweet for the raffiné crowd. Yes, it's creamy rice pudding as we know it, but it's made with Arborio rice - small, round risotto rice whose kernels stay firm at the core even when cooked through - plump golden raisins, and bittersweet chocolate, the ingredient that transforms this pudding, making its flavour deeper, its texture denser, and its character stronger.'
The dessert was incredibly easy to make and it's one of the few recipes in the book that covered less than 3 pages and required less than 20 ingredients:) Whole milk, Arborio rice, sugar, salt, butter, raisins and bittersweet chocolate (Hermé suggests Valrhona Guanaja, I used Green&Black's bittersweet dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids) was all that the recipe asked for.
Chocolate rice pudding
Source: Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
950 ml whole/full-fat milk
100 grams arborio rice
2.5 Tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
200 grams bittersweet chocolate, melted
125 ml/60 grams plump golden raisins
Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the rice, sugar and salt. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently (NB! the milk boils over very quickly, so pay attention!). When boiling, reduce the temperature and simmer slowly for about 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter. When the butter is melted, fold in the melted chocolate, stirring gently. Finally stir in the raisins.
Pour the chocolate rice pudding into individual serving glasses. Cover the glasses with clingfilm, cool to room temperature and then chill until ready to serve.
It was simple to make, and the resulting dessert was luscious and flavoursome, intensely creamy and chocolatey with al dente Arborio kernels giving a bit of texture. I ate the pudding plain, but authors suggest caramelised Rice Krispies, or raspberry coulis. I think a simple drizzle of single cream would also be nice.. And maybe finely chopped dried apricots instead of raisins.. Or raisins soaked in some rum for an extra kick?