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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rice Custard Pie

I read in a cookbook somewhere that you're not supposed to freeze custard pies.  Balderdash.  This pie freezes gorgeously, and doesn't require cooking once it's thawed.  You can also make the fruit spread and freeze that ahead of time to prepare the pie later which can in turn be frozen, in the event you need a really long time to make a pie...in which case I'd make two ;-) 
And for today's episode of "I Screw Up So You Don't Have To"...don't try to use brown rice here.  Just don't.  Even with extended cooking times, it won't absorb quite as much of the milk as white rice does, and you'll just get milk custard with little hard kernels of rice bran instead of the glorious creamy goodness that is rice custard.  Also use a deep die pie pan or a 10" pie pan.  This makes a BIG pie.  And if you forget to put the prune filling in the crust before pouring the custard, don't worry!  It's delicious spread on top of the pie as well.  I screwed up a lot.

Also of note, I am not a pie crust purist ::gasp::  Pillsbury makes a better crust than I do, so I let them do the work.  Feel free to make your own crust if you are a pie crust master and/or have something to prove.  Adapted from America's Best Lost Recipes.

Rice Custard Pie
Makes 8-10 servings

Prune spread:
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2  cup sugar
1 tbsp brandy, triple sec, bourbon, apple juice
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp brandy, triple sec, bourbon, apple juice

Place the prunes, sugar, 1 tbsp brandy in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook until prunes are very soft, about 20-25 minutes.  Transfer mixture to a food processor, and add 2 tbsp brandy.  Process until smooth.  Set aside or put in a freezer container to freeze for later use.

1/2 cup medium grain or Arborio rice (WHITE ONLY)
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup water
4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 large eggs (see American Egg Board size substitution chart if you have another size egg)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Bring water to a boil.  Add rice and salt, cover and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook covered until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. 

Stir in milk, sugar and cinnamon and cook, stirring frequently, until rice is thickened and very soft, about 45-50 minutes. 

Properly thickened custard

Beat eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Ladle 1 cup of hot rice mixture into egg mixture, whisking as you pour to avoid scrambling the eggs (this is called tempering).  Pour the rice-egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook 1 minute. 

Adding tempered eggs to custard


Thawed prune spread
Single crust pie dough

Roll out pie dough to fit a deep dish pie pan or a 10" pie pan (if you're using store-bought crust, you'll need to roll it out a bit).  Spread room-temperature prune filling on bottom and sides of crust.  Pour custard into the pie crust.  Bake at 350F for 1 hour, until the custard is set in the center.  Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours, before serving.  If planning to freeze, freeze pie uncovered for 1 hour.  Remove from freezer to wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap and foil, then return to the freezer to completely freeze.

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