Baked Rice Pudding With Prunes
Baked Rice Pudding With Prunes
In the Czech Republic, especially in the country, it is normal to serve a sweet entrée at lunch or dinner. You typically start with a savory soup followed by, for example, a plateful of golf-ball-size dumplings filled with strawberries (or blueberries or apricots) and sprinkled with powdered sugar, grated quark cheese and melted butter. Other options might be baked, paper-thin crepes filled with marmalade; yeasted dough buttons swimming in a pool of crème anglaise; bread pudding layered with grated apples, raisins and cinnamon; or potato dumplings coated with ground poppy seeds and sugar and topped with melted butter.
It’s complete sugar overload across the board—not to mention a calorie bomb—yet mouth-watering and very satisfying, especially when you’re a kid.
One of my favorite dishes growing up was a baked riced pudding—a casserole of sweet, buttery rice scented with vanilla and lemon zest, layered with preserved prunes (sometimes apricots), and topped with dramatic-looking browned marshmallow peaks. In America, this would be considered a dessert and probably served in small portions, but I leave it up to you—there is nothing wrong with eating it the Czech way, piled on.
The recipe—adapted from a Czech cookbook by Roman Vanek—is simple but calls for some egg beating, which makes the texture nicely airy and fluffy.
- Serves 4
- 1¼ cup white basmati rice
- 3 cups dairy or almond milk
- 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 5 eggs, separated into 2 and 3 egg whites
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups ready-to-serve prunes, pitted
- 1 cup sugar
- 7 ounces water
- Place the rice in a medium stockpot and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Add the milk and 1 tablespoon sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the rice is soft and has absorbed the milk, about 20–25 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a medium baking or casserole dish, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
- Place 3 tablespoons sugar, butter and 5 egg yolks into a bowl and cream with an electric mixer until pale, about 3 minutes. Stir into the rice.
- In a bowl, beat the 2 egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Stir in the rice mixture.
- Place half of the rice mixture into the baking dish, place the prunes in one layer over the rice, and spread the other half of the rice mixture over the prunes. Smooth out the surface and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- While the rice is baking, create the topping. Combine the remaining sugar and the water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, and cook until the sugar has melted and small bubbles start to appear on the surface.
- In a bowl, start beating the 3 egg whites with an electric mixer while pouring in the sugar mixture in a slow stream. Keep beating until the mixture becomes shiny and stiff peaks form.
- Remove the rice from the oven and top with the egg white mixture, creating small peaks. Bake in the oven until the egg white peaks just start to brown.