If I had to choose a dessert to enjoy for the rest of forever, it would be ice cream.
My favorite is to scoop some into a mug late at night and let it get a little melty while watching TV. But I’m also happy to pull into a drive-through for a vanilla ice cream-like product cone. Just no nuts, please and thank you.
Sadly, we don’t have Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams where I live. But she has shared lots of recipes for ice cream and other treats in her book. And she shared a technique for getting super smooth ice cream without making custard that is full of eggs.
I made the salted caramel (yum!) and roasted strawberry last summer and they were delicious. This time I wanted to try something a little different and decided on this toasted rice pudding. I mean, rice pudding IN the ice cream? Sold.
There were a lot steps involved before the base was ready to freeze. I may have set off the smoke alarm in the kitchen trying to achieve that perfect hue on the toasted rice. But it all worked out, and once the super thick and creamy base was ready, I wondered whether it really needed to be frozen into ice cream. But I did it and it was delicious.
Toasted Rice Pudding
1/3 cup jasmine rice
1 14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk (not light)
1/3 cup sugar
Ice Cream Base
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons chai tea leaves (from 2 chai tea bags)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
For the toasted rice pudding:
Toast the rice in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, shaking the pan and stirring the rice until evenly browned and the color turns golden. Reduce the heat to low, and slowly add the coconut milk. Stir in the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer while stirring occasionally until the rice is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. As the rice pudding thickens toward the end, it will need to be stirred more.
For the ice cream base:
Add the cornstarch to a small bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the measured milk and add this to the cornstarch. Stir together to make a slurry. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and sea salt together until smooth. Set aside.
Fill a large bowl half-way full with ice. Add enough water to cover the ice.
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring to a rolling boil and continue to boil 4 minutes, stirring often. Watch carefully, because boiling milk will quickly boil over the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the tea leaves and cinnamon, and let steep 10 minutes. Place a fine sieve over a medium bowl and pour the milk over, pressing on the tea leaves with the back of a spoon to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring back to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk into the cream cheese in the large bowl. Stir until smooth, and stir in the rice pudding. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon plastic freezer bag. This is easier if you place the bag in a large bowl or other tall vessel. Submerge the bag in the prepared ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice if necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Add the ice cream base to your ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal tightly. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, about 4 hours.
Lightly adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home