Cold Comfort Ice Cream: Creative Ice Cream Recipes from Snowy New England

Rice Pudding Gelato (Riso Gelato)

Posted on: January 21, 2010

The best rice pudding I've ever had!

I’ve been making David Lebovitz’s Rice Pudding Gelato ever since I purchased his wonderful book, The Perfect Scoop, a year ago. It immediately jumped out to me because I love gelato and I particularly love this type of rice pudding that Scandinavians call Riskrem. Riskrem is rice pudding as you’ve never had it before and one of my all time favorite desserts. Part of what makes it so special is that freshly whipped cream is folded into the rice pudding, making it both decadent and light as a cloud. Combining my two favorite desserts is brilliant and this recipe captures the very best qualities of rice pudding and ice cream.

This ice cream starts life in the oven.

Part of what makes this ice cream so great is the way it’s prepared and its delicious flavorings. You bake arborio rice with milk, a whole split vanilla bean and some orange rind for an hour and a half until the rice is tender and deeply flavored. The milk infuses with the orange and vanilla flavors creating a rich and complex base.

The best of both worlds, take that Hannah Montana!

Another genius aspect of this recipe is the fact that some of the rice gets put into a blender, creating little nubbly textured grains of rice. Texture is really important in almost all food and ice cream is no exception. With some grains of rice being left whole and some pureed fine, this ice cream has a delightful mouthfeel that’s a joy to eat.

A sprinkling of cinnamon makes it perfection!

Even if you’re not a rice pudding lover, do try this ice cream. I think it’s an improvement on the traditional rice pudding and the subtle nutmeg, vanilla and orange flavorings keep every bite delicious and intriguing. Another great ice cream from David Lebovitz! With him you just can’t go wrong.

Rice Gelato
Adapted from Perfect Scoop.

1/2 cup Italian Arborio rice
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lenghtwise
Two 1-inch-wide strips of orange zest
5 large egg yolks (save the whites for use later)
1 cup half-and-half or cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350. In a 1.75 to 2 quart baking dish, mix together the rice, milk 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt. Add the vanilla bean and strips of orange zest (I made the mistake of actually scraping out the vanilla, but it’s not really a mistake… it’s delicious.)

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the rice from the oven and remove the foil. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, then continue to bake the rice, uncovered for another 30 minutes.

Remove the rice from the oven a second time, remove the vanilla bean and orange zest and briskly whisk in the egg yolks at once. Then whisk in the half and half or cream and nutmeg.

Puree half of the rice mixture in a blender or food processor until chopped fine then stir it back into the cooked rice.

Chill the mixture in the fridge then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.


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