Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding Cake & A MasterChef Attempt

December 19, 2012 § 14 Comments

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding CakeYeah, you read it right. Your’s truly went for an attempt at MasterChef India last week. This was for first round of auditions happening in New Delhi. Few days back, my friend called up and told me to register for the auditions. I was taken aback at first instance, thinking I knew nothing about food, and she was asking me to go for the MasterChef. But after  few rounds of coaxing she did, I finally made up my mind to give it a try at least.

So, now I needed a recipe, which could represent me, my passion about baking. And probably it could earn me some brownie points if I get that related to the place I come from. After scanning through my cookbooks, internet bookmarks, innumerable sites, I could not zeroed on to that one single recipe I wanted to bake/cook for the audition. And then 2 weeks back, when I was at home watching my favorite stuff on TV, I came across this wonderful recipe from Michelin Star Chef Vineet Bhatia, on his show Twist Of Taste airing on Fox Traveler channel. Chef Vineet Bhatia’s show exhibits his deftness to create a magic out of simple local ingredients, every time he visits a different city in India. The way he miraculously transforms the humble most ingredients into a stunning show stoppers is really an inspirational stuff.

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding Cake 2This time, chef was visiting beautiful city of Coorg down south, which is famous for her coffee and vanilla bean plantations. So quite predictably, he took two of these local ingredients and set on to baking a rice pudding cake and to give it a beautiful look. It really looked like a 5 star restaurant dessert, served on a golden platter. And by the time show was over, I was pretty sure, what I was going to take to the audition. Now, for me the task was to get the recipe right. So first time I tried the exact recipe, and it tasted just awesome to me. I took that to my friends to seek their feedback. Everyone seemed pretty convinced to go with the same recipe. But there were some suggestions, to play around with some more flavors and be a bit more adventurous. So while cooking the pudding I infused the milk with some orange zest along with vanilla bean. I threw in some dried cranberries as well to break the monotony of flavor and bring in some balance between the sweet flavor of vanilla bean with tartness of cranberries. And for the topping, I replaced bananas with strawberries and the coffee vanilla syrup with chocolate syrup. And I took it for another round of feedback. This time we locked onto flavors for the final day.

On the D-Day, I got up very early, around 4 AM to cook the dessert to take it to the audition, which was scheduled at 8 AM. It was rainy and chilling that morning. After travelling for around 40 Km, I reached the venue one hour before the time. There were not many people before me. After waiting for another 1.5 hours, it was time for the audition and we were asked to plate up the dish. Judges tasted my dish during the first round and asked about it. I cleared the first round and was ready for the next one which was mainly the on screen audition, but unfortunately, I couldn’t get through the second round which was more about the screen appearance. But I am happy, that at least I tried it.

So I am sharing the recipe with you to try this out. You could also be adventurous and play around with your favorite flavors. Make variations of syrup also, if you like.

Ingredients

For Rice Pudding Cake

2 Cup Whole Milk
1/2 Cup long grain rice
1/2 Vanilla Bean, split
Zest of 2 Oranges
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 Eggs
130 gm sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries

For Chocolate Syrup

1/4 Cup cocoa powder
1/2 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
A pinch of salt
1/8 tsp vanilla extract

For Espresso Syrup

1/2 cup Espresso
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For Toppings

Fruits of your choice {I used Bananas and strawberries}
Crispy Fried Noodles {dusted with cocoa powder and icing sugar}
Blanched and toasted almonds

Instructions

  1. For the rice pudding, in a large saucepan, bring water and milk to simmer.
  2. Add vanilla bean and orange zest and rice to the milk and let simmer for about 18 minutes, until all the milk gets absorbed and rice becomes fluffy. Add butter and cranberries and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until pale and fluffy. Gently mix in the rice pudding.
  4. Grease three 2 1/2 inches cake molds and place them on to a baking tray.
  5. Add the mixture to molds and bake them in 180 C preheated oven for about 15 to 18 minutes until top is set. Once done, keep them aside to let cool completely.
  6. For both the syrups, mix all the ingredients separately in two saucepans and bring to a gentle boil for about 3 minutes on a medium heat.
  7. For assembly, unmold the cakes on to a plate. Top with fresh fruits and nuts and/or crispy fried noodles. Drizzle with syrup and serve at room temperature.
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