We found that using short-grain Arborio rice gives Greek pudding a silky-smooth texture.
Greek Lemon Rice Pudding
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Traditional Greek rice pudding should have a thick, velvety-smooth texture and taste of little more than sweet milk and vanilla with a hint of lemony brightness. Since the pudding has a short ingredient list, we found that balance was key. For the most appealing rice flavor and satisfyingly rich consistency, we cooked short-grain white rice (its starchy texture produced a silkier pudding than long-grain rice) in water, then added whole milk to make the pudding. Bay leaves, a traditional addition to this type of pudding, offered a balanced floral note. Adding the lemon zest off the heat ensured that the lemony flavor wasn’t dulled by cooking. We adjusted the texture of the pudding just before serving so that it would be nicely thick and creamy but not heavy.
2 cups water
1 cup Arborio rice
½ teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean
4½ cups whole milk, plus extra as needed
½ cup sugar
½ cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1. Bring water to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in rice and salt. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until water is almost fully absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using tip of paring knife, scrape out seeds. Stir vanilla bean and seeds, milk, sugar, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves into rice. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until rice is soft and pudding has thickened to consistency of yogurt, 35 to 45 minutes.
3. Off heat, discard bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean. Stir in lemon zest. Transfer pudding to large bowl and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Stir pudding to loosen and adjust consistency with extra milk as needed. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
MAKES 1 quart, serving 8
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Fruit sorbets technically are ices, as in Italian ice. To make a light, refreshing raspberry sorbet that was beautifully creamy and smooth, we had to overcome the jagged, unpleasant ice crystals that often develop on homemade sorbets and avoid the tendency toward crumbly, dull results. Finding the right balance of water and sugar was key; corn syrup helped to create a smooth texture without oversweetening. Freezing a small amount of the base separately, then adding it back into the rest helped superchill the mix, making it freeze faster and more smoothly. We also added some additional pectin to bump up the raspberries’ natural pectin, which helped keep the whole thing from turning into a puddle too quickly at room temperature. If using a canister-style ice cream machine, be sure to freeze the empty canister for at least 24 hours and preferably 48 hours before churning. For self-refrigerating machines, prechill the canister by running the machine for 5 to 10 minutes before pouring in the sorbet mixture. If using frozen berries, thaw them before proceeding. For fruit pectin we recommend both Sure-Jell for Less or No Sugar Needed Recipes and Ball RealFruit Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin.
1 cup water
1 teaspoon low- or no-sugar-needed fruit pectin
⅛ teaspoon salt
1¼ pounds (4 cups) fresh or frozen raspberries
½ cup (3½ ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
1. Heat water, pectin, and salt in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pectin has fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let mixture cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
2. Process raspberries, sugar, corn syrup, and cooled water mixture in blender or food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer 1 cup mixture to small bowl and place remaining mixture in large bowl. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap. Place large bowl in refrigerator and small bowl in freezer and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. (Small bowl of base will freeze solid.)
3. Remove mixtures from refrigerator and freezer. Scrape frozen base from small bowl into large bowl of base. Stir occasionally until frozen base has fully dissolved. Transfer mixture to ice cream machine and churn until mixture has consistency of thick milkshake and color lightens, 15 to 25 minutes.
4. Transfer sorbet to airtight container, pressing firmly to remove any air pockets, and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. Let sorbet sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.
Superchilling Raspberry Sorbet
1.Transfer 1 cup berry puree to small bowl. Cover bowls; freeze small bowl and refrigerate large bowl for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.
2.Scrape frozen base into large bowl. Stir until completely combined. Transfer to ice cream maker and churn until color lightens.
MAKES 1 quart, serving 8
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS We wanted a refreshing Italian lemon ice that struck a perfect sweet-tart balance and hit lots of high notes—without so much as a trace of bitterness. A cup of sugar gave our lemon ice the ideal amount of sweetness; less sugar left it with a pronounced bitterness, and more sugar made our ice taste like frozen lemonade. Spring water had a cleaner, less metallic flavor than tap water. We opted to add a bit of vodka to ensure a soft, creamy, slightly slushy texture and a pinch of salt to boost the flavor. To achieve an ice with a fluffy, coarse-grained texture and crystalline crunch, we froze the mixture in ice cube trays and then pulsed the cubes in the food processor. The addition of vodka yields the best texture, but it can be omitted if desired.
2¼ cups water, preferably spring water
1 cup lemon juice (6 lemons)
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons vodka (optional)
⅛ teaspoon salt
1. Whisk all ingredients together in bowl until sugar has dissolved. Pour mixture into 2 ice cube trays and freeze until solid, at least 3 hours or up to 5 days.
2. Place medium bowl in freezer. Pulse half of ice cubes in food processor until creamy and no large lumps remain, about 18 pulses. Transfer mixture to chilled bowl and return to freezer. Repeat pulsing remaining ice cubes; transfer to bowl. Serve immediately.
Minted Lemon Ice
Bring 1 cup water, sugar, and salt to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Off heat, stir in ½ cup torn fresh mint leaves and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl. Stir in remaining 1¼ cups water, lemon juice, and vodka and let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Freeze and pulse ice cubes as directed.
Reduce lemon juice to 2 tablespoons and sugar to ¾ cup. Add ¾ cup orange juice (2 oranges) to mixture in step 1.