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Turkish-style Baked Rice Pudding Is Called 'Sütlaç'

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Turkish rice pudding

Turkish baked rice pudding is cooked in small terracotta bowls and served slightly charred on top.

Photo © S-cphoto/E+/Getty Images

Do you remember the rice pudding your grandmother used to make? If you liked custard and rice pudding as a child, you'll love this recipe for baked rice pudding, known in Turkey as 'fırın sütlaç' (fur-UHN' soot-LAHCH').

Turkey is famous for it's wide selection of milk-based desserts and puddings. Baked rice pudding is the cream of the crop. It holds a very special place in Turkish cuisine. You'll find that it's made in every home and served in every Turkish restaurant.

Adults and kids alike love baked rice pudding, a healthy dessert choice after a big meal. It's best when made with fresh whole milk and chilled several hours before serving.

Some Turkish folks still go out of their way to seek out fresh, non-pasteurized milk to make "fırın sütlaç." It's said that the tricks to making perfect rice pudding are fresh milk, slow cooking, constant stirring and lots of patience.

The traditional bowl for serving 'fırın sütlaç' is a small clay dessert cup that's glazed on the inside. The pudding is first cooked on the stove, then the clay cups are baked in the oven until the tops are very brown.

If you don't have similar clay bakeware, any ovenproof dessert cups or small ramekins will do. For parties, you can also use disposal aluminum baking cups for easy clean up.

If you loved rice pudding as a child, this recipe for Turkish baked rice pudding will surely bring back fond memories.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 38 oz / 1 liter whole milk
  • ½ cup uncooked rice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

Preparation:

  1. First, wash the rice and place it in a large saucepan with enough water to cover it by about ½ inch. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat. Let the rice simmer gently until the rice is soft.
     
  2. Reserve about one cup of the milk. Add the remaining milk, sugar and vanilla extract to the rice. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it boil very gently for about ten minutes.
     
  3. Using a whisk, mix together the reserved milk and the cornstarch until it's smooth. While stirring, gradually pour in the milk and starch mixture. Turn up the heat and continue stirring the pudding until scalding.
     
  4. When the pudding thickens, continue to stir and cook for about two minutes more. Remove from the heat and fill small, ovenproof dessert cups, clay cups or disposable aluminum pudding cups with the hot mixture.
     
  5. Beat the egg yolk with three tablespoons of milk. Using a spoon, drizzle a small amount of the egg yolk mixture in the center of each desset cup. With the back of the spoon, use a light, circular motion to swirl the egg yolk from the center to the edges so it spreads evenly over the top of each cup.
     
  6. Bake the pudding cups in a 360° F/180° C oven until the tops are nicely browned. Let the cups cool at room temperature then refrigerate them for several hours before serving.
     
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