Since the lavender in my garden is a riot of growth and colour I'm working on the flavour of a Lavender Honey Rice Pudding with Belgian Chocolate. Comfort food with a subtle twist.
Please, please make sure to use real white chocolate. Pure white chocolate will have cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar and lecithin. There may be vanilla for flavouring. But that's it. If you cannot find a good quality white chocolate, top the pudding with chopped honeyed walnuts. Just keep it real. A dark chocolate is a bit too strong to let the lavender flavour shine through.
Lavender Honey Rice Pudding with White Belgian Chocolate
3 cups milk, 750 mL
1 cup cream, 250 mL
2 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers, 30 mL
5 tbsp honey, 75 mL
1/2 cup arborio rice, 125 mL
Pure Belgian white chocolate pieces for topping the individual servings
Infusion: Combine milk,cream, honey and lavender. Stir to dissolve the honey. Bring the mixture to a low boil and immediately remove from heat. A full rolling boil will cause the milk to separate. Let it steep for an hour. Strain the flowers out of the milk.
Put the pan back onto the heat. Add the 1/2 cup of rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for about 45 minutes. Check and mix occasionally. The rice pudding will thicken after it cools. Once a creamy consistency is achieved, remove from heat. A skin will begin to form on the top of the pudding as it cools. If you do not want a skin, put plastic cling wrap or a piece of parchment paper against the top. While it is still warm, but not piping hot, spoon it into serving dishes.
Presentation: Because this is a very white on white dessert. I thought about putting lavender flowers on top of the pudding.... hmmm, that looks a lot like pot pourri. Somehow buds of lavender on top of rice pudding look like buggy purply cocoons to me. Top with pieces of white chocolate and serve. Put a sprig of lavender beside the dish instead of on it.
Make Ahead? If you do make this ahead, gently rewarm the servings and then top them with the white chocolate. If you eat the rice pudding cold, the chocolate will not melt and the taste and texture experience is not as sublime. Either shave the white chocolate on top of the cold pudding or top the pudding with chopped honeyed walnuts.
1/2 cup walnut halves (125 mL)
2 tablespoons honey (30 mL)
Tiny sprinkle of cayenne for warmth, not flavour
Warm the honey so it pours easily. Place walnuts on baking sheet and drizzle with honey. Put in 350 degree F (180 C) oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. This is a sticky business so you can lightly coat your spoon with butter. Keep a close watch so you don't burn the walnuts. Remove from oven and let cool. Roughly chop the walnuts into coarse pieces.