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l'Ami Jean Rice Pudding Recipe [moved from France]

I was in Paris this spring and ate at l'Ami Jean. The whole meal was excellent, but I'm still thinking about the Rice Pudding with the caramel "sauce." I'm not usually a fan of rice pudding and had I not read about it on this board I never would have thought twice about ordering it. Since that trip though, I haven't stopped thinking about it. Does anyone have the recipe or have come up with anything that comes close to what Chef Stephane and his team create? Anytime I see it on the menu in Boston, Chicago or New York I try to get a look at it before ordering and haven't ordered it anywhere because none have come close to looking like what it did in Paris. Also, if you know how they make the caramel sauce that goes with it, that would be an added bonus. Thanks in advance

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  1. I think it is close to being a trade secret. The recipe from the one at La Régalade, which is almost as good, can be found here: http://www.amazon.fr/Regalade-Simple-...

    I think I have it somewhere and could copy it. I'm pretty sure it includes incorporating whipped cream in the end. I'm also pretty sure this is in the end very straightforward, including lots of high fat and very very long cooking times.

    1 Reply
    1. re: souphie

      Thanks guys. Any thoughts on the caramel sauce? I remember it being more like a decadent, thick whipped cream instead of a sauce. Everything I try to make is too runny.

    2. From what l can see, it is a non-egged, non condensed milk, lightly sweetened rice, whole milk/cream, sugar, vanilla, mix cooked till rice tender, cooled, then a lot of medium sweetened whipped cream folded in, maybe just before serving.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        I have made it a few times and have got close - not 100% there yet but getting closer.

        150g short grain rice (I have one recipe that uses Aborio which i haven't tried), 100g sugar, 1 liter normal milk, and a vanilla bean split and scrapped out. Dissolve sugar in milk whilst heating, add rice and simmer slowly for about 20 to 30 minutes. My first attempt I didn't think this was long enough and kept going until it was thick, this was a mistake.

        Let it cool completely, remove the bean, and then mix in some unsweetened whipped cream. This bit is trial and error, most recipes I have seen have too much and it gets too much of a cream taste, best to mix a little in then taste then add some more.

        1. re: PhilD

          I also dream of this recipe, but wouldn't want it - would much rather go to Paris (and L'Ami Jean) again :)
          That said, I think the "caramel sauce" is more of a caramel Italian meringue. At least that is what it tasted like to me.

      2. Funny, I had soo much of that rice pudding at L'ami Jean this past fall, they had to roll me out! But the magical item that night for me as the Gratine de Vieux Parmesan soup! My wife and I were fighting over it till they brought us more...!
        I would love to get that recipe. I know they put crushed breadcrumbs, beacon bits, and chopped scallions in the bowl.

        1. The basic recipe can be found in chef Christian Constants book, "Every Day French Cooking". As John Talbott and Souphie have explained before, he was the mentor of Camdeborde, who in turn mentored Jego of CLJ and Doucet of Les Regalades I & II

          1. I think the secret has leaked out and the receipe can be found on-line at several places such as http://www.food.com/recipe/l-rsquo-am.... Before finding this, I also thought that long slow cooking was the secret.

            The bomba rice, which seems to have an incredible capacity to absorb, gives by far the best result. If not available locally, you can order it on-line from La Tienda - best buy is the large bag as the rice will keep. The result should be reasonably close to what is served in the restaurant.

            I thought the caramel sauce is basically a confiture de lait - any other ideas on this?

            6 Replies
            1. re: kerriar

              Absolutely right. More like a confiture de beurre, if you ask me. (A buttered caramel, or a caremeled butter).

              1. re: souphie

                I have a recipe by Stéphane which was filmed for a TV program on Arte. Please note that this is not his classic recipe, he made that up for the program.
                Rice is cooked with milk, vanilla bean, a little muesli and sugar for 20 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, make a lot of whipped cream and a brown caramel. Deglaze the caramel with orange juice. Let cool. On a large bowl placed on ice cubes, mix cold rice pudding, 3 tbsp caramel and most of the whipped cream. Keep 4 tbsp for serving. Pour a little caramel and remaining whipped cream into bowls (plus some grated orange zest if you wish), add the lightened rice pudding (lightened with cream, yes), and a bit more orange zest and caramel. Sounds good doesn't it.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  would you mind posting or linking to the caramel recipe - i am craving rice pudding so i think i will give this a shot this weekend or next weekend - although i wish i could fly there and have it made for me :)

                  1. re: Dapuma

                    I don't have the caramel recipe but I am pretty sure it is based on "caramel décuit" with a lot of cream added.
                    You make a caramel, deglaze it with plenty of cream, mix well (I don't know whether the caramel is already salted or if salt is added later), let cool in the fridge for at least 12 hours, then whip until firm. I don't think butter is added, butter would coagulate into grains.

                2. re: souphie

                  I swear by Stephane Renaud's recipe which is essentially the same as the one posted by kerriar with the exception that the confiture de lait is put in the bottom of the individual dishes. When the riz au lait is added, the caramel tends to swoosh up the sides and coat the dish. When you spoon into it, the caramel and riz blend just enough to lighten the caramel.

                  1. re: mangeur

                    Thanks for all these posts and recipes. It is snowing in NYC today and this is what I'll make, for comfort food. Wish I had glasses that glass bowl to eat it out of!

                1. re: Parigi

                  great link to see how it is done thanks

                  but i do not speak french so the quantities of what to use elude me

                  1. re: Dapuma

                    The quantities are 2kg of rice, 2kg of sugar and 10l of milk. 2 hours cooking the rice.... Then everything else is still unclear. The recipe for the creme anglaise is not mentionned, but it looks as if she adds about 0.5l of creme anglaise to 1.5l of cooked rice. And she says the whipped cream is whipped without sugar.

                    1. re: Rio Yeti

                      rio yeti: where did you come up with 2 hours vs the 20 minutes a few other people have recommended?

                      should the milk start off being room temperature or cold, i would imagine this would impact the cook time and absorbtion rate

                      Does anyone know what recipe for anglaise should be used if that is being added into the mixture?

                      Is this recipe a good starting point?

                      going to give it a go this weekend have to order the rice, anyone want to put a vote in for which rice i should order carnaroli or bomba?

                      If anyone has a specific idea for the caramel if you post what you think i should try specifically with cooking times and rough temps i will try that

                      what does he use for crunchies in there - it looked like homemade cereal not sure the best way to make those...ok enough rambling it is late :)

                      1. re: Dapuma

                        2 hours is what Yuka is saying on the video posted by Parigi. I also find it a huge amount of time but that's what she says, and I guess that's why the type of rice is very important.
                        I tried the recipe you mention at food.com, the result wasn't bad, but it wasn't "it". Now that this video was posted I see why, the recipe is different. You should first cook the rice in milk (regular milk, not full milk), and then the vanilla comes from the creme anglaise that is added afterwards. Unfortunately they don't give the recipe for the creme anglaise, but I recently did one (for another dessert), and I plan to try it with this recipe : - 5 yolks, 1/2 l milk, 100g sugar, one split and scraped vanilla pod.

                        As for your question if the rice should be added when the milk is cold or not... I would think it does make a big difference for short cooking times, but with 2 hours cooking I don't think it would impact the result a lot... but I may be wrong....

                        1. re: Rio Yeti

                          what do you mean by regular milk vs full milk

                          is that like whole milk vs 2% milk?

                          do they mention the type of rice

                          also do you have an idea of how much sugarless whipped cream should be added? I usually use heavy whipping cream versus regular whipping cream - are you thinking soft peaks or stiff peaks for the whipped cream

                          have to work this weekend so next weekend or the following is as soon as i can give this a go

                          1. re: Dapuma

                            In France we have "Lait entier" which is whole milk (sorry for my bad translation of "full"...) and is not the one used for this recipe. And "lait demi-écremé" where half the cream was taken off. From a quick search on the internet it seems that it is indeed equivalent to your 2% milk, but maybe someone can confirm that...

                            Unfortunately they don't mention the type of rice, but as said before, for it to withhold some sort of shape after 2 hours of cooking it is probably Carnaroli or Bomba.

                            A comment on the video Parigi posted suggests that the cream for the whipped cream has a lot of fat "for it to be firm and give a light texture to the dish". So I'm pretty sure heavy whipping cream is the way to go.
                            For the quantity it's hard to say you should watch the video, it will give you an idea...

                            Let us know how it went !

                            1. re: Rio Yeti

                              ok rice is ordered now (carnoli)

                              work has delayed this project a bit but i will attempt it before the year is out!

                  2. re: Parigi

                    Wow, thank you thank you for posting this ! It is not at all how I made it based on supposedly the real recipe found online !
                    I used much less sugar in the cooking of the rice, and cooked it for less time also... It's weird how after 2 hours of cooking + all that "rough" treatment the grains are not totally mushed... maybe carnaroli rice is strong enough.
                    I'm definitely going to try it this way !

                    1. re: Rio Yeti

                      The rice at Chez l'Ami Jean is in fact quite melted, having retained just the ghost of the rice grain. There is still a slight snap from the rice, which indeed suggests that carnaroli rice is used. Spanish bomba would certainly retain that firmness as well.

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        I love the rice texture of Jégo's version of riz au lait. It is one of the features, but not the only feature, for which I prefer to the Régalade version, in fact all other versions.

                        "panish bomba"

                        My favorite rice for all things. Sometimes I think I prefer it over carnaroli.

                        1. re: Parigi

                          Thanks Pti and Parigi for the reply. I agree that the rice at CAJ is really light and fluffy and filled with milk, but still there. Most rices would become a paste, this rice doesn't.

                          I must confess I've never cooked with Carnaroli nor Bomba... just when supermarkets finally started to get arborio, people started talking about how arborio is not the right rice for risotto but carnaroli is....

                          Where do you buy your carnaroli or bomba in Paris ?

                          1. re: Rio Yeti

                            I get my premium Italian and Spanish rice from … - you'll never guess - the Japanese and Korean grocery stores on rue Ste Anne.

                  3. When we had it this past summer I found the dish tasted quite like a good vanilla ice cream or even a trifle without the cake base. The enormous size of our portion probably reduced some of its luster for me and half the amount would have been just perfect.

                    I did think of how it was assembled and I imagine you could make a fairly good approximation by making a basic rice pudding flavored with excellent grade vanilla, and fold in both whipping cream and creme anglaise. Make pralines and crumble onto the mixture. If I were to do it I would probably also serve it with crisp ladyfingers.