Friday, January 28, 2005
At lunch today, in the cafeteria, I thought I'd try their apple spice cake with a translucent orange glaze. It looked yummy, with chunks of apple, and a dark spicy looking cake.
But it was one of the best "fool you" dishes I've encountered in a long time.
Even if it had not been placed among the cakes and pies, I still would have thought it was an apple spice cake.
I have no clue what it really was, and the staff was too busy during the lunch rush to ask.
The ingredients, however, were easy enough to discern. The primary ingredient, what I thought was apple chunk, turned out to be rice - long grain, undercooked rice, colored an appley caramel color by the spices. The binding, which I'd assumed was cake, was a thick, cold gravy, heavily spiced with clove and black pepper, and nowhere near enough cinnamon. The orange glaze had no discernable flavor, but that might be because my tongue was numbed by the cloves.
I think, done right, though, this could be an intriguing rice pudding.
I'd use a short grain, sticky rice, cooked in nice medieval style spices - cloves, of course, and cinnamon, with cubebs, cracked pepper, saffron, and roses. I'd make a sauce of more spices - heavier on the cinnamon with a touch of almond now and oranges. I'd thicken it with the crumbs of a dense peasant bread, and mix the rice into the bread. It would chill until firm, and then I'd slice and serve it with an almond orange glaze.
It would be an interesting mix of both a rice pudding and a bread pudding.
How cool is that?