Humble rice pudding gets a serious makeover with the addition of flavorful, fat-grained Carolina Gold rice and a glassy, sugared brûlée crust.
MAKES SIX 6-OUNCE SERVINGS
3 cups milk
3⁄4 cup Carolina Gold or other long-grain white rice
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
6 tablespoons natural cane sugar or granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease six 6-ounce ramekins and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a low simmer over medium heat with the rice, vanilla bean and reserved seeds, and salt. Raise the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and the mixture is thick and creamy, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla bean. Add the heavy cream and granulated sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks, butter, nutmeg, and cloves.
Divide the pudding evenly between the prepared ramekins and bake for about 20 minutes, until slightly puffed but still soft in the center. Remove from the oven.
Preheat the broiler or prepare a small kitchen torch. Sprinkle each pudding evenly with about 1 tablespoon of the natural cane sugar.
If using a broiler, place under the broiler in the upper third of the oven until the sugar caramelizes, rotating the baking sheet to evenly brown, 1 to 2 minutes. If using a kitchen torch, torch each pudding individually to caramelize the sugar, being careful to keep the torch at the distance recommended by the manufacturer. Serve warm.