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Turkish Rice Pudding
45 minutes plus chilling
During a recent trip to Istanbul, we tasted sütlaç—cool, creamy, comforting Turkish rice pudding. With only a few ingredients and no eggs, the dessert tastes of clean, pure rice and dairy—without any heaviness—and is only subtly sweetened. The rice lends creaminess, of course, but a secondary starch is commonly added to help thicken it; we use cornstarch. Classic versions of sütlaç are oven-baked, but we prefer stovetop simmering as it allows us to easily monitor progress. A hallmark of the dessert is a browned surface or “skin” that results from baking. We replicate this with a brief stint under the broiler. The aim is not to produce a crackly crème brûlée crust, but rather a browned layer that adds bittersweet, caramelized flavor. Nuts are a typical garnish, so we finely grate roasted or toasted almonds onto the chilled ramekins just before serving.
cup Arborio or Japanese-style short-grain rice