The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup short grain rice, a pint of half & half, 1 1/2 TBLS sugar, and the zest of one lemon. Mrs. Grigson says in strips; Laurie Colwin says chop fine. Combine everything in an oven-proof dish and bake at 250°F for 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 45 minutes.
I tried it with brown rice, and the rice just did not get soft, even after transferring the mixture to a pot on the stove, and adding water (and boiling it over a bit – took a lot of scrubbing to get the boiled-over milk off), and simmering.
Here’s what finally worked; the ingredients are not much changed, just the method:
- 1/4 cup short grain brown rice
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups milk or half & half (I like whole milk for this; half & half is too rich)
- 2 TBLS sugar or other sweetening, honey, agave, brown sugar, maple syrup …
- zest of one lemon
- juice of half to all of that lemon
Combine the rice and water in a sauce pan that’s at least 1 qt. size, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to very low, cover, and cook until the water has all been absorbed, 45 minute to one hour. Add the milk, sweetening, and lemon zest. I used a zester to shave off fine strings right in to the pan; you could also remove the zest with a peeler, and chop. Bring the mixture to a boil and transfer to an oven proof dish, and transfer that to a pre-heated 250°F oven. Bake stirring every 45 minutes or so. I think it will still look quite loose when it’s done and thicken when it’s chilled. Remove from the oven and stir in the lemon juice to taste. The batch below I actually baked for more like 3 1/2 hours, but then it seemed almost too thick when chilled, and I added more milk (or yogurt with strawberries for breakfast one day) before eating. I think this makes two large, breakfast-size servings, made with milk, but could easily be 4 dessert-size servings with, say, extra heavy cream drizzled on. Colwin says after it’s chilled to cover the surface with brown sugar, and run it under the broiler to brûlée it – that sounds delicious, too, and also better enjoyed in smaller servings.