Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My attempt to make Fırın Sütlaç (Turkish rice pudding)

I had Fırın Sütlaç for the first time a couple of months ago at Efes on Yates Street and it was amazing.  I have had English rice puddings and have hated them, the Turks know what they are doing and it is amazing.   The good people at Efes also do not charge enough for the dish, their price for it is insanely low, only $2.45.  If I were closer to downtown I would be buying it to take home on regular basis but since I am not, I thought I would try to make it at home.

At heart the dish is just rice, milk, sugar and vanilla - pretty damn basic and should be easy to be replicated.   I assume it came in existence as a way to deal with leftover cooked rice.

My first attempt was not really a success.   In part I think it is the recipe I used.   The details may have been all been there but since I have never made it had no idea what each step should work out.   As one example, it did not say cook the rice as one normally would, but called for the rice to covered by a 1/2 inch of water and then cooked.

I really have no idea what is expected to happen to the rice along the way so I ended with a lot of rice that had not fully disintegrated and in the end had settled to the bottom of the ramekins.   My pudding was also thicker than it should have been.   This recipe also had an egg wash, sort of, for the top of the pudding.   Most recipes do not have this but I think it is crucial to get the crust on top.  My only modification of the ingredients was that I used 1% milk and added a pinch of salt.

A different recipe I looked at but did not use called for a very different way to make.   There was no corn starch and the sugar was stirred in at the very end.

I have looked for some more recipes:

So in considering all of these recipes, here is what I would do:

  • Cook short grain rice in a bit more water than needed and cook it until it is overcooked.  1/2 cup of rice in 1 1/3 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • I would then add 3 cups of milk to the rice and cook it over low heat till the rice disintegrates.   I would add the seeds from one vanilla pod to the mixture at this time.
  • I would then whisk 2 tablespoons of corn starch into 1 cup of milk, when done with that I would add it to the milk rice mixture on the heat.   I would cook this until it was the consistency of heavy cream, it should coat the back of spoon and leave a clear spot when you run your finger through the mixture.
  • I would now pour this into ramekins.
  • I would let this cool and set up a bit.  When it has I would make an egg yolk/milk egg wash.   I would put about a teaspoon of this on top of each ramekin.
  • Now I would put it all under the broiler but do so with the ramekins sitting in a water bath.  Once it was the top was browned it would come out and be allowed to cool in the fridge.
I might add nutmeg or cinnamon to the dish

Here is a video of how to make the dish

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