It is Halloween, well, for most of the world. Japan doesn't celebrate it like America does, although they are slowly coming around to the idea.
I decided to make a rich, chocolate-y dessert for the occasion, and what better than something by Pierre Herme?
Of course, I don't have the culinary skills to make most of the recipes in this book, nor the tools or kitchen space, so I chose something within my range...Chocolate Rice Pudding.
Here is the recipe: from "Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme" written by Dorie Greenspan
3 3/4 cups (935 grams) whole milk
1/2 cup (100 grams) Arborio rice
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons (1 ounce; 30 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona Guanaja, melted
1/2 cup (60 grams) moist, plump golden raisins
1. Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and add the rice, sugar and salt.
Bring to the boil, stirring frequently--don't walk away, because milk boils over quickly--then lower the temperature so that the milk is at a slow, steady simmer. Stirring now and then, allow the milk to simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. (The timing depends on your rice and the strength of your simmer. Because you're using Arborio rice, the rice, when properly cooked, will remain ever so slightly al dente, meaning it will be firm at its center.) About one-quarter of the milk will have boiled away, and that's fine.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and using a heatproof spatula, stir in the butter. When the butter is melted and incorporated, pour a little of this hot mixture into the melted chocolate and stir gently. Now scrape the chocolate into the pot and stir it into the rice mixture, stirring in ever-widening concentric circles and stirring only enough to combine the ingredients. Stir in the raisins and then spoon the rice pudding into a serving bowl or individual cups. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding to create an air-tight seal and, once the pudding reaches room temperature, put it in the refrigerator to chill.
Notes: I couldn't find Arborio rice, so I bought this brand, Alce Nero, everything was written in Italian, but I think it was a type of rice that could be used for risotto.
Also, I couldn't find golden raisins, but found these "ruby raisins" from Iran. I surfed the internet and found that they are called "red raisins" in the U.S.
This dessert is very rich. I think the next time I make this, I'll put it into smaller cups. The chewiness of the rice and raisins add a nice texture to it--enjoy it with a strong cup of coffee or espresso.
Keeping with the Halloween theme....this actually wasn't a Halloween costume, but I wanted to share with you what I looked like when I went with a friend to Kyoto a couple of years ago.
For a fee, you can dress up like "maiko" (geisha apprentices) and walk around--some people think you are actual "maiko" and want photos with you, it is definitely a great experience, especially trying to walk in these shoes and trying to take off all the make-up afterwards--they paint part of the back of your neck too!
Have a safe, but fun Halloween!