What might be considered nursery food is transformed into a dessert for sophisticates by adding mascarpone to it. The pudding is best if it has not been refrigerated and can be served while still slightly warm. It is a delicious foil for poached or candied fruit, or fresh seasonal berries.
Mascarpone is a creamy, slightly tangy fresh Italian cheese. An acceptable substitute is soft cream cheese beaten with a little yogurt.
Mascarpone Rice Pudding
- 4 oz (125 g) long-grain rice
- 2 cups (500 ml) whole or low-fat milk
- 1 vanilla bean scraped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups (500 ml) cream or half and half (half cream and half milk)
- 1 cup (250 g) mascarpone
- Slivered almonds
- Place the rice in a heavy saucepan, stir in the milk, vanilla bean, and cinnamon stick, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon, until most of the milk has been absorbed, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Stir in all but a tablespoon of the cream and continue cooking until the rice is very tender, another 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in all but a teaspoon of the sugar, cover, and allow to cool until lukewarm, about 45 minutes.
- Remove the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick and stir in the mascarpone.
- Mix the almonds with reserved spoonful of cream, then toss with the reserved spoonful of sugar.
- Place them on a foil-lined pan in a toaster oven or 350°F (180°C) oven and toast them until they are lightly browned.
- Set aside.
- Serve the rice pudding with a sprinkling of the nuts on top.