Raymond Blanc's Riz au Lait

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

850 ml (28 fl oz) full-fat milk
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split length-ways and seeds scraped out, or a few drops of natural vanilla extract
75 g (3 oz) short grain (pudding) rice, washed in cold water and drained
Caster sugar or icing sugar for sprinkling

1. Boiling the milk, sugar and vanilla
On a medium heat, in a medium saucepan, bring the milk, vanilla pod and seeds (or vanilla extract) to the boil.

2. Cooking the rice
Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas Mark 2. Add the rice to the milk and return to a medium boil. On a medium-high heat, cook the rice for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking, as the milk becomes more condensed and the consistency thickens, stir every 2 minutes or so to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.

3. Baking the rice pudding
Pour the rice into a shallow baking dish, about 24 cm (9 1/2 in) in diameter, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes

4. Caramelising the pudding
Pre-heat the grill. Remove the pudding from the oven and sprinkle caster or icing sugar over the top so it is completely covered. Caramelise under the hot grill for 1 minute.

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